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"I can't even hazard to guess as to what they were trying to say with that title..."

"Babbity Rabbity and her Cackling Stump is the stupidest title ever written by man or beast and of course when I wrote it... when I gave Ron that title, I didn't imagine for a second that I was actually going to write the story."
J. K. Rowling, on combining this trope with Defictionalization.

The persistent practice of using titles that look like someone mashed together random words lifted out of an English dictionary. At worst, they will be as meaningless as "Super Punk Octo Pudding Gas Mark Seven", and at best, they will just cryptically allude to the show's premise or characters while trying to make a clever Western pop-culture reference. Basically, Gratuitous English (or whatever language the work was originally made in) as applied to work names.

Contrast with Exactly What It Says on the Tin, this trope's direct opposite. See also Non-Indicative Name, for characters and in-story objects with similarly unintuitive names, albeit ones that still carry meaningful communicative significance; and Never Trust a Title, for titles that are grammatically sound, but misleading. Related to I Thought It Meant. For an example of a "TV Tropes" title that follows this formula, see Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot. Frequently results in an Long Title.

The extreme version of this trope is the Word Purée Title, when even the words themselves are garbled or made up.

See also Gory Deadly Overkill Title of Fatal Death, for when horror movies do this. A Sister Trope would be Word Salad Lyrics, often performed by suitably named bands. Also very closely related to Meaningless Meaningful Words, which sound impressive in any haphazard order.

Not to be confused with Colon Cancer or In Which a Trope Is Described. Mad Lib Thriller Titles follow a set of rules that may or may not be this.

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Examples That Make Sense in Context

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Kaiju Girl Caramelise: The "Kaiju Girl" part is a more straightforward example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin, as main character Kuroe Akaishi is a high school girl who intermittently turns into a Kaiju. The "Caramelise" is a bit more complicated; it references caramelization, the process of browning sugar to give it a distinct sweet taste, and in relation to the manga refers to how shy and antisocial Kuroe gradually becomes a sweeter person as she starts making friends.
  • The confusingly-named Fruits Basket is named after a Japanese kids' game also called "Fruits Basket". Makes logical, if not grammatical, sense. The problem comes from Japanese at one time lacking a tu syllable - it's tsu or to - with the result that so many English words ending in t get an extraneous final -s when transliterated into Japanese. In particular, "fruit" has issues in the fact that Japanese does not have distinct R and L consonants; furuuto is the transliteration of "flute", so "fruit" is stuck with furuutsu.
  • The meaning behind the title of Angel Beats! doesn't become clear until the final episode. Angel, the female antagonist received Otonashi's heart ("beats"); both literally in a heart transplant while she was alive, and metaphorically in the afterlife when he falls in love with her. "My soul, your beats." Before then, there's only the weak explanation that one character is an angel and some other characters are musicians.
  • Boogiepop Phantom got scrambled in localisation. The original Japanese title was "Boogiepop Doesn't Laugh" (alternately, "Boogiepop Never Laughs").
  • Samurai Champloo sounds like it but actually makes some sense. Champloo or rather Chanpuru is a Japanese dish made from a mix of regional foods, just like how the anime mixes Edo-period and modern elements together. Interestingly, both the dish and the main character of the anime are from Okinawa.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist just plain makes more sense in the original: the word translated as 'full metal' is a pun in Japanese, meaning steel but also stubborn (an adjective that suits Ed very well). Its Japanese title, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi (commonly abbreviated to "HagaRen"), would translate to the far more comprehensible Alchemist of Steel.
  • Full Metal Panic!, on the other hand, is Gratuitous English and a slightly off-kilter reference to a Stanley Kubrick film.
  • Devilman Lady was changed to The Devil Lady for the American release. The original title came about because the titular character is the Distaff Counterpart to Devilman.
  • Bleach had its name derived from Tite Kubo not wanting to name his manga Black after the color of the shinigami uniforms and so titled it Bleach as the inverse of black, in order to evoke the meaning of white. Prominent fan theories for its naming were Ichigo's light red hair, which supposedly looks bleached, the band Nirvana of which Tite Kubo is a fan, whose first album was titled Bleach or the "bleaching" purification effect a Shinigami's sword has on a Hollow fallen ghost. And then there's the rumor that he called it bleach because in his cleaning supplies the bleach was right next to the Resolve, and resolve is a major character trait.

    Many of the chapter titles make very little sense without context. "Four Arms to Killing You" and "Superchunky from Hell" for example. The former involves an Arrancar with four (later six) arms trying to kill Kenpachi Zaraki. The latter is about a giant blob-shaped hollow coming from Hueco Mundo to aid in Aizen's attack. In the Bleach character data books there are sections to translate the titles.
  • Ah! Megami-sama, aka Ah! My Goddess, was changed to Oh My Goddess! in some translations to fit the Western expletive "Oh My God." According to its creator, this is the correct translation.
  • El-Hazard: The Magnificent World. Given the loose Arabic feel of the series, it is likely that "El Hazard" (pronounced El "Ha-ZARD") is a bastardization of Scheherazade, the teller of 1001 Tales of the Arabian Nights. Each episode is described as a "night." The first episode is "The First Night." Given this, it is likely to have taken Makoto 3 years until the epilogue to find a way to get back to Ifurita; or 1001 Nights. It could also be a reference to Lovecraft's Mad Arab Al-Hazred, who wrote the Necronomicon, knowledge that man should not know. There certainly is enough Lost Technology in the series that mankind would have been better off not creating. Although the El- prefix is actually Spanish, as in El Cid, the noted Spanish general.
  • Speaking of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, "Lyrical" is her rarely used incantation, (she stopped using it after the first episode of the second season), she's a Magical Girl and her name is Nanoha.
  • Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch. Pichi pichi is both the onomatopoeia of a fish blowing bubbles and a phrase describing a Genki Girl like the heroine, Lucia. Pitch refers to the Magic Music used in the series. Still, that's like naming an action film ''Man With a Gun Bang Bang Sound."
  • Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry. Strains are the Humongous Mecha, and the name stands for STRategic Armoured INfantry; it may also refer to the strained relationship between the Emotionless Girl heroine and her evil Aloof Big Brother.
  • Bubblegum Crisis: As the creators explain, a bubblegum crisis is a bad situation that just keeps expanding until it pops and leaves a mess all over the place. They may have been thinking of 'Sticky Situation'.
  • Sailor Moon: The Sailor Soldier's Magical Girl costumes deliberately resemble the common Japanese school girl uniforms, popularly known as "sailor fuku" that are patterned after traditional sailor's uniforms. The resemblance is mostly in the shirt collar and scarf. The show even referenced this in one episode of The '90s anime when Usagi used her Disguise Pen to become an actual sailor. Actually, the officially translated full title is "Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon," just to throw in a few more nouns there.

    Later anime arcs tack on "R", "S", "Super S", and "Sailor Stars" to the series title. R is said to stand for Rebirth and Romance, S refers to Super, according to eyecatches, as in Super Sailor Moon. Super S refers to...multiple Super Sailor Soldiers (i.e., the Sailor Team) while Sailor Stars? Probably all the Sailor Star Lights (alien Sailor Soldiers).

    This trope also applies to too many attack names to count. There is nothing particularly illusionary about Shine Aqua Illusion, nor do Star Serious Laser and Star Gentle Uterus actually involve lasers and uteri. (Ew.)
  • Azumanga Daioh. The title refers to the author of the manga (Kiyohiko Azuma) and the magazine it was published in (Dengeki Daioh), as well as it being, well, a manga. A translation would basically go something like "Azuma's great comic for Daioh Magazine." The anime version calls it "Azumanga Daioh: The Animation", even though it's only accurate for the print version. It also sounds like "Azumanga da yo", which would translate to "It's Azuma's manga!". They play with this interpretation at the very beginning of the anime (they cut the phrase off, resulting in 'Azumanga da!').
  • All-Purpose Cultural Cat Girl Nuku Nuku. "Cultural", in this context, is a post-World-War-II word indicating that a consumer product is New and Improved. Still, it fails to capture English syntax.
  • The "Cure" part of the Pretty Cure franchise is assumed to refer to the act of eliminating the evil influence that turned an ordinary object of some kind into the Monster of the Week. Makes the most sense in Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star.
  • Lucky Star doesn't seem to specifically refer to any star that is lucky, although there is quite a bit of symbolic use of a star within the series as a decorative motif, and there is an extended sequence where the characters discuss wishing upon a star. Possibly, it was referring to the Madonna song, which at least vaguely makes sense.
    Furthermore, the title is spelled Raki ☆ Suta, which is not the proper way to spell Lucky or Star, which ought to be Rakkii and Sutaa respectively. It is a little bit like naming your show "Lukky St'r" (just enough similarity to the actual words that the intended meaning is clear, but it still looks odd). It's just another example of the Fun With The Foreign Languages game so popular in Japan. The Lucky part came from Comptiq, the magazine it serializes; Lucky Channel is actually the name of their reader's column.
    There is a scene where one of the characters wishes on a shooting star, but it doesn't appear until Volume 2 of the manga. The anime theme song also makes reference to meteorites.
  • ×××HOLiC sounds like someone hopelessly addicted to pornography, those x'ed jars of moonshine, or maybe Vin Diesel. It's actually supposed to evoke those little x's on the blank where you sign your name on official documents: therefore, "×××HOLiC" is more like "fill-in-the-blank-holic", or "ABC-holic". Many of the characters fit this description (workaholic, alcoholic, etc.). It's supposed to be pronounced as just "holic". It can also mean "addicted to the unknown" with the xxx being a "mystery".
  • Tokyo Mew Mew is a Pun-Based Title involving the onomatopoeia of a cat's "mew" and the Greek letter "mu", which is pronounced the same and used extensively in the field of genetics. The main character is a catgirl, and she and her team of Little Bit Beastly are genetic experiments. And, well, it is set in Tokyo.
    • Tokyo Mew Mew's hentai parody, Sex Warrior Pudding, fits this bill as well. The original Japanese title is Family Restaurant Warrior Pudding, which makes just as much sense though is less frightening; the protagonist is named "Pudding" which fits the edible theme naming of much of female cast work at a family restaurant and is a (ostensibly secretly) superheroine. The "sex warrior" part comes from the fact that she and the other female cast are involved in inordinate amounts of, well, sexual situations (the positive feelings they get from such being used to power their superheroine strength, weaponry, super modes, etc.).
  • Kaitou Saint Tail: Kaitou is obvious, Saint because she's Catholic, Tail because she has a ponytail.
  • Kiddy Grade makes sense when reviewing the background material, which states that the young-looking nanomachine-enhanced ES members are 'graded' in increasing orders of power as C, S, G (Copper, Silver, Gold). Ironically, the main protagonists are listed as the weakest of their first.
  • The Japanese title Kidou Senkan Nadeshiko is a fairly straightforward play on two classic series and the term Yamato Nadeshiko. For whatever reason, the English title, Martian Successor Nadesico was taken from the antagonists of The Movie, who don't even exist in the time frame of the series.
  • Excel♡Saga is the saga of the title character whose name is Excel. The full title of the anime adaptation is "Quack Experimental Anime Excel Saga", which also says it all.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: Lain is our protagonist. The series spans a short manga and a PlayStation game, the latter of which involves reading case files on Lain's 'progress' throughout laboratory tests. Also, each episode of the show can be seen as Lain experimenting with something new, progressing serially from the simple (trying out a new computer) to the mindblowingly, cosmically profound. Metatextually, the episodes can be seen as a series of experiments with storytelling technique, each one trying something different.
  • Kurau Phantom Memory: Kurau, the protagonist, merges with an energy being calling itself "Rynax", which is likely the phantom from the title. The new Kurau retains a strong sense of morality since she still possesses all of the memories of her human part. During the course of the series, she encounters other "Rynasapiens" who suppress their human memories and as a result, have a high disregard for life.
  • Cowboy Bebop: other than helping to set the mood of the show, a "cowboy" is slang for a bounty hunter and Bebop is the name of the ship the hero bounty hunters live on. And no, the title doesn't refer to a specific character. Bebop is also a type of Jazz and the opening theme song Tank is sort of an example of this style. Some of the background music is in a country style, which the "Cowboy" may be alluding to. Naming the show after music also works in a show influenced by styles of music.
  • Trigun can make sense in context, though that context is debated (see below).
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo is named after the main character, and both he and the series are every bit as weird as the name.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth stars a trio of characters who become, yes, Magic Knights. One of them eventually gains a guardian god-robot called Rayearth.
  • Code Geass: "Geass" is the main character's name for his Magical Eye powers (which is derived from geis or geas, a type of enchantment that heroes in Celtic mythology are often put under by goddesses or witches), but the "Code" part remained a mystery for one and a half seasons, until in episode 15 of R2, CC referred to her and VV's immortality and ability to bestow Geass as "Code". Yup, it was as simple as that. On the other hand, "R2" remains unintuitive and unclarified in the text, but Word of God states it refers to "reconstruction and revolution".
  • Kishin Corps had its title changed to an example of this trope for Pioneer/Geneon's DVD re-release: Alien Defender Geo Armor.
  • Transformers:
    • The title Transformers: Armada refers to the eventual team-up of Autobots, Decepticons, and Mini-Cons to form a giant space fleet to fight Unicron...near the end of the series, making the title a total mystery for most of the time that it was in use. Meanwhile, its title in Japan is Transformers: Micron Legend, referring to the Microns (Mini-Cons in the dub) who act as the main Mac Guffins of the conflict.
    • Transformers: Super-God Masterforce. "Masterforce" is the transformation phrase used by the humans turning into Transformers. "Super-God" is a translation of the Japanese word chojin (超神). Jin is how the kanji 人 is pronounced; this sound is present in the Japanese words for both human and android, and thus symbolises the combination of humans and robots (in this case, Transformers) to form the ultimate lifeform. Thus, a more accurate but less impressive name would be Transformers: Super-Human-Robot-Hybrid-Soul Masterforce. Super-God Masterforce can also refer to the Godmasters, the aforementioned fusions of human and Transformer.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers The series initially focused on World War II versions of Germany, Italy, and Japan before expanding its cast and focus. Hetalia is a portmanteau of the Japanese words for "useless" and "Italy".
  • Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE- is certainly a chronicle, and "Tsubasa" means "wings", which fits the "search for feathers" quest that takes up the first half of the series and also, two of the main characters are named Tsubasa, although they're using their clones' names (Syaoran and Sakura) as aliases. Pay no attention to the fact that said clones got the names in the first place from the aliases their originals were using, it just gives you a headache. Although the titular reservoir appears halfway through, it seems a minor detail unworthy of title attention until the grand finale. The "reservoir" can also refer to how Sakura's memories are in feathers, so the "wings" are a reservoir of what is the plot to our story.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! makes sense in the original Japanese, as it means "King of Games", and Yugi is the protagonist's name. The latter is probably the reason why the title wasn't simply translated along with the rest of the show - the connection between the title and character name would be lost, and naming him "Game" would just be weird.
    • Specifically it's a pun. Yugi means "Game," while "-Ou" is a suffix for King/Lord/etc., so the title means both "Game King" and "King Yugi" in Japanese. However, "Game" would be an odd name in English, and the Japanese syntax doesn't translate at all.
    • The sequel series also get hit with this: aside from still maintaining the "King of Games" name (which has become more and more of an anachronism, as the term itself hasn't been used since the original series and whether it could apply to any of the protagonists is debatable), each of the series has a strange subtitle related to the plot:
      • GX is short for "Generation NeXt", in reference to how Jaden is part of the next generation of duelists following in Yugi's footsteps. It's also directly referenced in Season 2 with the GX Tournament.
      • 5Ds is short for "Five Dragons", a reference to the five (later six) Signers; it's also the name of the protagonists' Turbo Dueling Team in the second half of the series.
      • ZEXAL is the name of Yuma and Astral's special ability, allowing them to fuse together in order to perform Shining Draws. Depending on the translation, it might also be the name they go by while fused.
      • ARC-V is more complicated: it apparently combines the word "arc" (in reference to the arc of a pendulum, such as Yuya's pendant) and the Roman numeral for "5" (in reference to this being the fifth Yu-Gi-Oh! series). Near the end of the series, the machine used by Academia to fuse the Four Dimensions back into one is also called ARC-V.
      • VRAINS is an acronym for "Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence Network System", and the story revolves around a Cyber Space called LINK VRAINS.
  • Flunk Punk Rumble, despite being the English title, sounds like it makes much less sense than the Japanese title (Yankee-kun to Megane-chan / Delinquent Boy and Glasses Girl). But if you consider that the aforementioned Manga concerns students trying to not Flunk from school and that almost all of the characters are Punks / Delinquents and that the main characters often get involved with Rumbling, it makes at least some sense in context.
  • Eureka Seven:
    • The full title is Koukyoushihen Eureka Seven, literally "Symphonic Psalms Eureka Seven" or officially "Psalms of Planets Eureka Seven". OK, Eureka is the name of the female protagonist, and the episodes are all named after songs, so the story can be regarded as a collection of "psalms" in that sense. The answer to Seven is a very submerged Title Drop: During the flashback explaining the origins of the Scub Coral they first remember a rocket that crashes. Its underwater wreckage shows "Eureka" on the rocket a screen later. The entire series of events began with a space mission named Eureka Seven.
    • The meaning in the Alternate Universe Movie is spelled out much more explicitly: Eureka was the seventh girl who a cult experimented on to obtain knowledge from the Coralians/Image, so she was referred to by a serial number ending in "7" which was shorten to "Eureka 7".
  • Pumpkin Scissors is named after the postwar recovery organization the characters in the series belong to, so it makes sense that the series would be called that. Where the organization got its name from is that just as a pair of sturdy shears can cut through the thick pumpkin, so does the recovery unit cut through the hopelessness and corruption after the war.
  • Marmalade Boy: In the book, a direct reference is made by Miki's description of her step-brother and later boyfriend: sweet with some bitterness (unpleasantness) in it. But by Word of God, all four main characters were originally gender-flipped, and "Marmalade Boy" was meant to describe Miki's sweet, naive and cheerful character before the Gender Flip.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Neon means "New One" in Greek so the title is New One Beginning/Creation/Origin Gospel in English. The Video games entry for NGE has a more detailed version. According to Sadamoto, the title came from wanting a similar name to the also confusingly titled Space Runaway Ideon.
    • The literal translation of the original Japanese title, Shin Seiki Evangelion, is "New Century Evangelion", possibly a reference to its 20 Minutes into the Future setting. Hideaki Anno has said that he chose the word "Evangelion" because it "sounded cool".
    • The final film in the Rebuild of Evangelion series provides a new meaning for the title: when Shinji gains the ability to remake the world in his image, he uses the opportunity to give himself and those closest to him a happy ending by making a world without Evangelions or Angels, which he calls a "Neon Genesis".
  • Daphne in the Brilliant Blue is pretty much this for awhile - it's not until episode 10 (nearly halfway in the series) that the 'Daphne' part is given any explanation whatsoever, and the full title still doesn't make a lot of sense until the final few episodes.
  • Yumeiro Pâtissière. Yumeiro literally means "dream-colored," and connects to the fact that the protagonist (the Patissiere) wishes to make dreams come true through her sweets.
  • I My Me! Strawberry Eggs. There's actually a pun in here. In Japanese, the word "aimai" means "ambiguous" or "vague" which, given the plot, makes a good deal of sense. It still doesn't explain the "Strawberry Eggs" part, though.
  • Strawberry Panic! takes place in the Strawberry dorms and many characters end up in a panic about things.
  • Strawberry Marshmallow refers to the nicknames Nobue calls the girls, Strawberries, and the song Marshmallow, by Tamio Okuda.
  • Strawberry 100%. The incident that starts the series is the main character looking for a beautiful girl with strawberry-print panties he happened to see on the school roof.
  • Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, which complete title, Katekyoushi Hitman Reborn! means Home Tutor Hitman Reborn. To explain: a renowned Hitman becomes the protagonist's home tutor, and his name is Reborn!. Once you know that, the title can also be read "My Hitman Home Tutor, Reborn."
  • One Piece suffers from this, particularly because in many languages, including English, it can refer to, ahem, clothing. Fortunately, though, the explanation comes in the very first scene - the dying Pirate King states "I left all my treasure in one piece." and from there, "the One Piece" becomes the name of the treasure that the main characters are racing to find.
  • The "gray" of D.Gray-Man supposedly comes from the color motif of black and white in the series, and the fact that the hero ends up being neither with the Order, neither with the Noah (thus, "gray"). The meaning of the "D." has been made slightly less obscure by chapter 218 (it was apparently a part of Mana's name)
  • Ghost in the Shell: The 'ghost' part refers to the part of a person that makes them human, which, in a world where the entire human body, including the brain, can be replaced with cybernetic substitutes, is pretty important in separating cyborgs from straight-up robots. And of course, the shell more than likely stands for a cyborg body.
  • High School D×D. D×D (pronounced "Dee-dee") is an in-universe title, short for Dragon of Dragons, that the lead eventually takes on. Issei himself is still in high school, hence, High School D×D.
    There is a second, equally in-universe explanation; the protagonist team also call themselves D×D collectively (as they're such a mishmash the usual system of identifying oneself by myth of origin falls apart), and they're based out of Kuoh High School.
  • Tokyo Marble Chocolate a Romantic Comedy anime: "Tokyo" refers to the backdrop setting and the Tokyo Tower, "Marble Chocolate" is the name of the cafe the girl, Chizuru, works on but it can also be a reference to a white chocolate, which is a traditional romantic gift from a girl to a guy.
  • Myriad Colors Phantom World, in which humans gain the ability to see magical phantom creatures. What "Myriad Colors" is supposed to mean isn't entirely clear.
  • The Testament of Sister New Devil has some seriously bizarre grammar, but was at least meant to make sense. It's a battle-ecchi involving demonic stepsisters, one of whom is the newly-appointed Demon Lord. "Testament" was probably a poorly-chosen word for the contract the hapless male hero accidentally makes with them.
  • Psycho-Pass: It sounds random but does turn out to mean something: it's a pun. The mind-scanning system that all citizens must "pass" is powered by the disembodied brains of psychopaths. A Japanese speaker would pronounce "psychopath" as "psychopassu."
  • Show by Rock!! is apparently a recursive-translation of "rock concert," or something analogous. The protagonist joins a band and uses The Power of Rock to defeat baddies.
  • Death March to the Parallel World Rhapsody—"death march" refers to an overly-long coding marathon, after which the main character inexplicably jumps to a Parallel Universe. "Rhapsody" is just there to complete the mad-lib fantasy title, vaguely linking back to "march" (both relate to music).
  • DEVILMAN crybaby, an adaptation of the manga Devilman. The addition of "crybaby" pushes it into this trope; as incongruous as it sounds, it's almost self-explanatory. The hero is a sensitive man prone to crying who obtains demonic powers.
  • Pokémon Golden Boys tries to have a Title Drop at the start but it still doesn't make any sense. Nowhere else, even in the manga itself, does anyone call a Pokémon trainer a "Golden Boy" (and it's noted that girls can be "Golden Boys" too). The manga's name comes from it being a Pokémon adaptation based off of Pokémon Gold and Silver. The two main characters are boys, with one being named "Gold".
  • Action Heroine Cheer Fruits: an "Action Heroine" is a performer in a Power-Rangers-style stage show, and "Cheer Fruits" is the Gratuitous English name of the lead group.
  • SSSS.GRIDMAN is nearly a Word Purée Title, but does have an explanation. "Gridman" is the main Humongous Mecha, and "SSSS" is a reference to Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, the western adaptation of the live-action series the anime is a spin-off of. The final episode, however, reveals the "SSSS" to have an in-universe meaning: "Special Signature to Save a Soul", the Access Code required to transform Gridman into his original Tokusatsu form.
  • Future Card Buddyfight and its various oddly-named sequels. It takes place 20 Minutes into the Future, where people compete in "Buddyfights" using magical cards.
  • Meow Meow Japanese History. A more literal translation would be Cat Cat Japanese History, which makes it slightly more obvious that it's a retelling of Japanese history starring cartoon cats.
  • Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka: Asuka is the main character, a Magical Girl with a militaristic flavor ("spec ops" is an abbreviation for special military operations/operatives).
  • The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer has an unusual word order; it would typically be Lucifer and the Biscuit Hammer but the former looks cooler. The "biscuit hammer" is an enormous hammer in space that could destroy the world. "Lucifer" refers to Samidare, one of the main characters, though she doesn't have much in common with her Biblical namesake. So, it's exactly as goofy as the title makes it sound.
  • Panzer World Galient. This show features a Humongous Mecha or Panzer called "Galient", and the setting is an alien world.
  • A Certain Magical Index and its spinoff A Certain Scientific Railgun. The "magical index" is a human library of magical tomes who goes by the name Index. Railgun is the nickname of a girl with electricity powers who likes to use that electromagentism to launch coins at incredible speed, and "scientific" refers to the non-magical tech-wizards of the setting. The "A Certain" part is just a naming quirk of the franchise.
  • Otherside Picnic is a title-reference to Roadside Picnic, another word-salad title but with an in-story explanation (in the latter's page quote) as a metaphor for regions of deep space full of surreal artifacts. Similarly, Otherside Picnic takes place in a Parallel Universe full of strange objects and mythical creatures.
  • The titles of each Part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure seem like rather strange collections of words, but they tend to vaguely describe the events of each Part. Starting with Part 3, the titles reference the protagonist's Stands- for example, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders is a reference to Jotaro's Star Platinum, and the protagonists are sometimes unofficially referred to as the "Stardust Crusaders."

  • Mitch Hedberg's comedy albums were named for jokes, but not jokes on the album.
  • George Carlin's 1975 album An Evening With Wally Londo, Featuring Bill Slaszo.

    Comic Books 
  • Albedo: Erma Felna EDF: The name "Albedo" is an astronomic term for the reflecting power of a surface, in this case of the light reflected by the planets from a star. In a metaphorical sense, the name is an allegory of how the problems of the anthropomorphic society somewhat "reflects" the ones the human society also have, albeit in a warped way. "Erma Felna" is the name of the female protagonist and "EDF" is the acronym of "Extraplanetary Defense Force", the military organization the titular protagonist belongs to.
    • As an interesting note, the whole comic was originally named "Albedo Anthropomorphics", since the comic originally began as an anthology of many furry comics written by many authors, and the Erma's one was just named Erma Felna EDF without the Albedo moniker at first. The name became an Artifact Title when the anthology part disappeared since the second Story Arc onwards and only the Erma Felna EDF story was the only one published there, but the name Albedo still remained relevant in the Erma Felna EDF saga because it was used as a Title Drop later when they find out a derelict spaceship, who was tripulated by humans. By 2016, the author definitively changed the name of the comic to the current one since that name was used by the fans from many years ago, averting I Am Not Shazam altogether.
    • The name of the sequel Birthright was named because the titular hero, Alfon Koshaka, wants to reclaim his "birthright", in this case, reclaiming his homeland who was invaded by foreign invaders.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts was supposed to be a term for young children, as in the "peanut gallery" on The Howdy Doody Show. It was thought up and forced on Charles Schulz by the publisher; Schulz had initially called it Li'l Folks. Charles Schulz himself hated the title and in a 1987 interview, he said: "It's totally ridiculous, has no meaning, is simply confusing, and has no dignity - and I think my humor has dignity." Sunday strips feature the subtitle "Good Ol' Charlie Brown."

    Fan Works 
  • The first story in the Elemental Chess Trilogy, Flowers of Antimony, and all of its chapter titles (e.g. "Fixity") might at first seem like complete nonsense. But it's cleared up in the author's notes on the first chapter - they're all terms from traditional alchemy, which makes sense since it's a continuation of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One of the main reasons given for The Shawshank Redemption failing at the box-office was the opaqueness of its title: it makes perfect sense in context, but as "Shawshank" is a fictional prison, you have to have seen the movie or read the book to even know the gist of what's going on.
    • In one of the few happy cases of changing the film's original name in Mexico, the movie was renamed Dream of Flight, which is more appropriate.
    • Ditto for the Swedish title: Nyckeln till Frihet — "The Key to Freedom" (you know, hope.)
    • One can debate whether the Danish title is that appropriate, as it is called "A World Outside" (of the prison walls, that is).
    • The German title is Die Verurteilten, meaning as much as The Condemned. Considering that the German title of the short story upon which the film is based, i.e. Hope Springs Eternal: Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, is simply Pin-Up, that's actually an improvement.
    • The Brazilian title is a combination of the two above: A Dream of Freedom.
    • Then again, the title in Finland was "Rita Hayworth — avain pakoon" which is pretty much a spoiler to the movie plot, meaning "Rita Hayworth — the key to escape"
    • Russian title of the movie means "Escape from Shawshank", both spoiling the ending and moving it to the category Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • The Hungarian title provides an interesting twist: Prisoners of Hope. It's actually an interesting title, which makes you curious about the movie.
    • The French title is "The Escapees", which has about the same effect as the Russian one and lets you believe it's just some kind of Escape from Alcatraz movie.
    • The Norwegian title translates to "Rain of Freedom". This is not a well known type of rain; you'd have to watch the movie to know what the title is talking about.
  • The Coen Brothers seem to have a particular fondness for this trope, to the point that it's become one of their Creator Thumbprints over the years. A huge chunk of their films have titles that seem completely nonsensical if you don't know anything about the plot.
    • O Brother, Where Art Thou?, named after a line in the 1941 film, Sullivan's Travels.
    • The Hudsucker Proxy, so called because Tim Robbins' character acts as a stand-in decision maker (proxy) for Hudsucker Industries' executives and shareholders.
    • The Big Lebowski, so called because there are two different characters in the movie named "Jeffrey Lebowski", one of whom (the one who's NOT the protagonist) is an enormously wealthy businessman with a huge ego. It's also a hat-tip to The Big Sleep, of which it's a loose adaptation.
    • Raising Arizona, so called because it's about a married couple kidnapping the infant son of a man named Nathan Arizona and attempting to raise him as their own child.
  • The Japanese release of Army of Darkness was called "Captain Supermarket". This sort of makes sense, since Ash starts out as an ordinary guy who works at an S-Mart and becomes more superheroic as the story goes on.
  • Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo. The film is about dancers, and "Electric Boogaloo" is a style of funk dancing. In keeping with the theme of funny-ass names, the main actors of the film series also happen to be nicknamed "Shabba-doo" and "Boogaloo Shrimp."
  • Blade Runner. The term is the nickname used for bounty hunters who identify and kill renegade androids posing as humans. Is it because they live within the razor's edge between humanity and machine? Is it because they practice unsafe scissor usage? No, it actually doesn't have any deeper meaning. The filmmakers lifted the term from an unrelated book (about medical supply smugglers) because it sounded cool.
  • The soccer movie title Bend It Like Beckham confused many American viewers, who at that point had never heard of David Beckham. And many of those who had at least a vague idea of who he was had no idea what "it" was, or how Beckham bent "it."
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is actually a Vehicle Title, in that the title of the movie is the name of the (unexpectedly) flying car which is the primary MacGuffin of the story. The car itself was named by the owner's children for the noises that its engine makes.
  • The title of the British movie It's All Gone Pete Tong makes little sense unless you know it's an example of Cockney Rhyming Slang based on the name of the British DJ Pete Tong. Tong does appear in the movie As Himself, but the expression in the title is never explained.
  • Martha Marcy May Marlene. Martha is the protagonist's real name and "Marcy May" is what the leader of the cult she joins christens her upon her induction. Additionally, when answering the phone, all male members of the cult are instructed to use the name "Matthew Lewis" so as to avoid revealing their identities, while all female members are to go by "Marlene Lewis".
  • August Underground was originally going to be called Peter, but it was changed fairly late to a title that was the random combination of August (when filming took place) and underground film.
  • Five Across the Eyes - There are five main characters, and they're travelling through an area nicknamed "the Eyes".
  • Steps Trodden Black takes its title from a line of a Robert Frost poem (albeit slightly paraphrased). It relates to the main character's coming of age arc, and his being hung up on making decisions. On a more literal level, the film takes place in the woods and the title sounds scary.
  • They Might Be Giants, based on a play of the same name. Who are "they," and are they giants or not? The title doesn't have anything to do directly with the plot. It's taken from a short monologue in which the main character argues that people need to think of things "as they might be" rather than just "as they are." He references Don Quixote, stating that Don Quixote was mad because he thought the windmills were giants when he should have thought, "They might be giants." In other words, embrace open-mindedness and curiosity.
  • Upstream Color: The film is about a blue substance that inhabits a number of hosts throughout its life cycle. At one point, it's washed upstream and turns some riverside orchids blue.
  • In Straw Dogs (2011), David compares the locals to straw dogs, saying that the men are treated reverently when they are football stars in high school but are "trash" afterwards. Such feelings make sense, considering how he treats them later. Or throughout the film, for that matter. The original film gives no explanation for the title.
  • Zero Dark Thirty sounds like this, but it's, in fact, a military term for 30 minutes after midnight. That's not the actual time Osama bin Laden's death took place but refers to the darkness and secrecy surrounding his search and eventual killing.
  • 8 1/2 was so named because it was Fellini's "eight and a halfth" film. The "half" film was a short.
  • Moulin Rouge! has the song Elephant Love Medley (medley used here to mean the same thing as Salad in this trope. Elephant Love Salad anyone?). Two characters are singing a medley of songs related to love, in a building shaped like an elephant.
  • Zoolander manages to do this with a single word. It's the last name of the protagonist, not that anyone would guess that since it's a name the writers made up to be deliberately silly.
  • Space Jam. Out of context, the title makes no sense, and certainly doesn't indicate that the film is a crossover between the NBA and Looney Tunes. However, the movie's antagonists are from space and the word "jam" is sometimes used in contexts relating to sports.
  • Licorice Pizza is named for a California record store chain that existed from the 1970s through the 80s. That said, it's also a Trivial Title, since the movie takes place in 1970s California but the record store in question is never seen or spoken of.

  • The Catcher in the Rye. Holden remembers the poem "comin' through the rye", and thought the words "if a body meet a body" were "if a body catch a body". He imagined that he was in a gigantic field of rye where thousands of children were running around playing a giant game of itdoesntreallymatter. The field was on the edge of a cliff, and Holden had to catch any kids that got too close to the edge. Crazy, but there you go.
  • The Mocking Program by Alan Dean Foster is something of a subversion in that it makes perfect sense after The Reveal and is completely appropriate to the plot. Given how late The Reveal is in the story, however, one can't help but suspect the book would have benefited if it had been subject to It Was His Sled.
  • The Silence of the Lambs refers to Starling being haunted by the memory of lambs screaming as they were slaughtered, and Lecter's suggestion that saving Catherine Martin might help put an end to that.
  • The title of Stephen Fry's novel The Stars' Tennis Balls is from a metaphor used in The Duchess of Malfi: "We are the stars' tennis balls, struck and bandied which way please them," meaning, "We have no control over our fate."
  • Wuthering Heights sounds a bit like gibberish to modern audiences due to the fact that the esoteric word "wuthering," meaning in effect "stormy," is not widely known. The book's title is the name of the inhospitable location of the story, and also refers to the volatile emotions of the plot.
  • A Clockwork Orange. The "clockwork" part clearly has something to do with the way the treatment makes Alex programmable, but Burgess has given several different explanations for what the title is supposed to mean:
    • The phrase comes from "as queer as a clockwork orange," a phrase Burgess claimed to have heard, but of which there is no record of ever being used before he wrote the book.
    • "Orange" is a pun on the Malay word for man. Burgess also wrote the Malayan Trilogy, in which some characters do speak Malay (Bahasa), though there are no other Malay words used in this novel.
    • "Orange" refers to the human capacity for "color and sweetness." Oranges are natural, clockwork is not (like brainwashing).
    • Burgess also once explicitly stated that the "clockwork orange" was a metaphor for human behavior, in that while an orange may appear to be very simple on the outside, they are much more complex and intricate beneath the rind.
  • Robert Ludlum's "The Propername Abstractnoun" Mad Lib Thriller Titles are notorious for sounding fancy while telling you nothing.
  • Negative Happy Chainsaw Edge. The villain uses a chainsaw, and his strength is dependent on the lead female Eri's happiness, or lack thereof.
  • Tuck Everlasting: Tuck is the surname of a family who have become immortal. It still doesn't make much grammatical sense once you know that.
  • The Amazing Book Is Not On Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester: It makes sense if you know that the co-authors are better known as YouTube vloggers and that their respective channels are called TheAmazingPhil and DanIsNotOnFire.
  • Trainspotting has absolutely nothing to do with trains and train enthusiasts. Rather, the title is an Artifact Title from the original "Trainspotting at Leith Central", the meaning being that Leith Central Station is abandoned, derelict, and squalid, and going there to trainspot is a stupid, filthy and completely pointless activity... much like the protagonists' lives.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Super Sentai Series in Japan is pretty guilty of this as it's impossible to translate most titles as anything but these. Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger translates as Pirate Squadron/Taskforce/Team Gokaiger. Gokai meaning misunderstanding is a pun on Goukai meaning heroic and <-ger> as in ranger which makes this series translate as Pirate Squadron/Taskforce/Team Misunderstanding Ranger/Misunderstandingger.
  • Battlestar Galactica. As silly as it sounds, it makes sense in context. The show is about a starship named Galactica, which is a Battlestar, a portmanteau of battleship and starship. It is in the same format as Battleship Potemkin.
    • In Finnish it is translated as Taisteluplaneetta Galactica ("Battle planet Galactica") which makes no sense whatsoever.
      • But then, taken literally, "Battlestar" is an even stranger name for a spacecraft than "Battleplanet." At least a planet can have people living on it.
    • In Russian the word "Galactica" ("галактика") means simply "galaxy", which originally led to names like Battle of Galaxies or Battle for the Galaxy, as well as direct translation of Battle Star Galactica, which sounds rather weird. Eventually, the series ended up known as Star Cruiser "Galactica".
  • The Naked Brothers Band has used the Tag Line "Real band, real brothers. Not really naked". Polly Draper has gone on record as stating that they did "perform" naked as toddlers while she was trying to bathe them. Ladies and gentlemen, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Embarrassing Your Children!
  • The show Stella took its name from the original comedy group, which named itself after the unborn daughter of the club manager who booked their first show. It does not refer to any of the members (three men named Michael, Michael and David) or characters involved in the show, nor is it spoken at any point in the series. They do say it in several of the 26 short films, but only in reference to the name of their group/act.
  • The Mighty Boosh is named after a childhood memory of co-creator Noel Fielding, when a 6-year-old Portuguese friend of Michael Fielding (who plays Naboo on the show) described Michael's large hairstyle as "a mighty boosh." Ironically, Noel's character Vince Noir has a large, distinctive hairstyle that is the subject of many jokes, while Naboo's hair is almost always covered by a hat.
  • The lyrics to the end credits theme of Frasier, "Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs", sound nonsensical, like any good jazz lyrics should. The title has been explained as referring to the "confused" callers Frasier gets on his radio show, as well as the situations he's in which can't be undone.
  • 30 Rock is impossible to parse unless you know that it's an address: 30 Rock[efeller Plaza, New York, NY] (also known as the location of NBC's studios). The abbreviation is famous in the TV business. And to be fair, the opening titles do make this fact explicitly clear, and the place is referred to as 30 Rock by characters on rare occasions.
  • Breaking Bad is likewise difficult to make sense of if you haven't run across that particular bit of slang (it refers to a good or at least conventional person suddenly going off the rails), however, Jesse does use the term in the first episode.
  • Tattooed Teenage Alien Fighters from Beverly Hills. And yes, it's exactly what it sounds like.
  • Although not exactly a working title, in an episode of Top Gear (U.K), the trio of presenters attempt to build an electric car (I mean, how hard can it be?). They name their second prototype the "Hammerhead Eagle i-Thrust". Admittedly, a more impressive sounding name than their first prototype, which was called Geoff.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 lampshaded this during the KTMA version of "Fugitive Alien."
    Joel: I think they just stuck two words together that sounded cool.
    Servo: You mean, like "Mystery Science"?
  • Orphan Black refers to Sarah's existence outside the system ("in the black") before she was adopted by Mrs. S. Lampshaded in the series finale where it's the title for Helena's memoirs, and none of the other characters can figure out what it's referring to.
  • The British show Peaky Blinders can come across this way particularly to Americans. A "peaky" is an old-fashioned kind of hat with a peak. The series concerns a gang who would stick razor blades in the seam of their hats so that they can whip them at an enemy's eyes as a surprise attack.

  • Strawberry Alarm Clock! Who cares what games we choose? Little to win but nothing to lose...
  • Motion City Soundtrack
  • Blue Öyster Cult (both the band name and most of their lyrics) appear to be an example. However, all of their trademark cryptic lyrics combine to form a long, sprawling mythology, as most of them are taken from Imaginos, a mock-mythic cycle of epic poetry created by Sandy Pearlman before the band was even started. You've heard of concept albums; Blue Öyster Cult was supposed to be a concept band.
    • The name of the band is an anagram of Cully Stout Beer, which the members of the band claim to have been drinking while they brainstormed. (The umlaut is just cool.) However, there's no evidence whatsoever that such a (redundantly named) stout beer ever existed.note .
      • The band name was parodied in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: Episode 3 (Baddest of the Bands), when Strong Bad has to come up with a name for his band, comprised of himself, Homsar, and the King of Town. Here, however, the words were selected at random, so the end band name is something like "Degenerate Oatmeal Itch-Machine" or "Deluxe Omlette Insomniacs".
  • Many Of Montreal's songs have titles that kind of make sense if you stand at just the right angle, squint a bit, and then give up and read some interviews. One of the most prominent examples is "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse (Chemicals)," which is apparently about how the enthusiasm for his music had, like Prometheus's fire, cursed him, estranging him from his wife, with whom he'd lived on a street in Oslo called "Heimdalsgate." Neither Prometheus nor Heimdalsgate is ever directly mentioned in the lyrics.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers's Blood Sugar Sex Magik. Apart from the title track, it also includes the song "Mellowship Slinky in B Major," a song which fulfills none of the things implied by the title.
  • Panic! at the Disco's first album A Fever You Can't Sweat Out had a lot of examples of this trope: "London Beckons Songs About Money Written By Machines", "There's a Good Reason These Tables Are Numbered Honey, You Just Haven't Thought Of It Yet", "The Only Difference Between Martyrdom And Suicide Is Press Coverage", "Nails for Breakfast, Tacks for Snacks".
    • Many of their song titles and lyrics are actually book or movie quotes, and more impressively, they've even spanned two songs "Lying is the most fun a girl can have without taking her clothes off" is followed by the song "but it's better if you do" (creating a full line from the movie Closer).
    • "...Press Coverage" is a quote from a Chuck Palahniuk novel, Survivor (1999).
    • Panic's sophomore album didn't fare any better: "Nine in the Afternoon" only makes sense after Word of God explains that they were stuck in a windowless rehearsal space and were trying to determine what time it was without the use of, you know, a watch or clock. Genius, boys. Genius.
      • As well as the rest of the tracks on "Pretty. Odd.", such as "From A Mountain In The Middle of the Cabins"?!
    • Many of the Decaydance bands, like Panic!, are known for this. The Cab ("Zzzzz") and Cobra Starship ("Send My Love to the Dance Floor, I'll See You in Hell (Hey Mister DJ)") are repeat offenders.
      • Fall Out Boy were obviously the main influence on all of these bands, considering such gems as "Reinventing the Wheel to Run Myself Over", "'Tell That Mick He Just Made My List of Things to Do Today'" (an inexplicable quote from Rushmore), "Seven Minutes In Heaven (Atavan Halen)", "Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying (Do Your Part To Save the Scene and Stop Going to Shows)", "I've Got a Dark Alley and A Bad Idea that Says You Should Just Shut Your Mouth (Summer Song)", "Don't You Know Who I think I am?", "I'm Like a Lawyer With the Way I'm Always Trying to Get You Off (Me & You)", "Disloyal Order of Waterbuffaloes", etc.
      • Speaking of Fall Out Boy- Bang the Doldrums, anyone?
  • Indie horror-rock band the pAper chAse fills their albums with such gems as: "Abby, You're Going to Burn For What You've Done to Me", "The House is Alive and the House is Hungry", and "Throw Your Body On the Apparatus". It's possible "The House is Alive and the House is Hungry" was based off the novel House of Leaves.
  • New York band Coheed and Cambria have put out four albums as of this writing. They are named, in order of publication: The Second Stage Turbine Blade, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, and Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow, and number one, Year of the Black Rainbow.
    • They all make sense if you know the Coheed and Cambria mythos — album titles are the ONLY part that makes sense—
      • Second Stage Turbine Blade refers to Claudio's (Sanchez) dad's old job. It also refers—as far as I can tell—to Coheed's arm blades and the fact that this is the second time that he's used them.
      • In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3: it refers the planet of Silent Earth: 3 (presumably the planet Paris: Earth post-MonStar), and Inferno's Pioneers' struggle to keep themselves a secret, including a character being blinded, drilled through the hand, cut up, burned, and thrown in the streets—and rebuilt.
      • GAIBSIV: Vol One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness is a reference to Claudio's (Kilgannon) promise at the end of IKSSE: 3 to "Burn Star IV", the centre of the storyline's fictitious solar system. From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness is about the Writer (the character of the writer, not Claudio S.) writing his girlfriend into a story for fear of losing her, and he's soon inside the story, seeing it through his madness.
      • No World For Tomorrow is a continuation of Claudio K attempting to burn Star IV, and No World For Tomorrow is the fate of Heaven's Fence.
  • The band Jimmy Eat World. The name came from the caption on a crayon drawing by guitarist Tom Linton's younger brother Ed in the aftermath of one of Ed's fights with their other brother, Jim, depicting...Jimmy eating the world. Linton saw A Good Name for a Rock Band and went with it.
  • The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. They got their name by tacking words onto a wall and picking them at random.
  • Bang Camaro got their name by finding the two sexiest words in the English language.
  • Though some might think it was meant to be deep, the Grateful Dead literally pulled their name out of a dictionary open at random.
  • Jaime Brockett's "Talkin' Green Beret New Yellow Hydraulic Banana Teenybopper Blues"
  • Relient K loves this trope. They have albums called The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, Two Lefts Don't Make a Right...But Three Do, and Five Score and Seven Years Ago. They can mostly be understood/explained. And then there's two songs: "Crayons Can Melt on Us for All I Care" and "The Only Thing Worse than Beating a Dead Horse is Betting On One." Again...understandable. Eventually.
  • The New Pornographers write their lyrics as Word Salad more often than not. Letter From an Occupant seems to be most famous for this.
    • Carl Newman's songs represent this. Dan Bejar's songs, on the other hand, only seem like Word Salad: It's often implied that there is some metaverse that has formed out of Bejar's lyrics.
  • The Mars Volta's lyrics also seem to be made of word salad (as well as their titles), but after a few late nights of research on the fan forums, you can begin to deduce the meanings.
    • Of course, in their case, the lyrics are literally supposed to evoke bizarre imagery in order to decipher the meaning of the song; they can still make your brain hurt, though.
  • Norwegian metal band Dimmu Borgir's album titles: Enthrone Darkness Triumphant, Godless Savage Garden, Spiritual Black Dimensions, Puritanical Euphoric Misanthropia (possibly the worst offender), Death Cult Armageddon.
  • Another Norwegian band, a-ha, had a downplayed version of this for its breakout hit, "Take on Me". While the song is coherent, the title is a literal translation of the Norwegian phrase ta på meg, which idiomatically means "touch me". Interestingly, the latter English phrase would serve as the opening words of the band's follow-up single, "The Sun Always Shines on T.V."
  • Tori Amos' "In the Springtime of His Voodoo", "Programmable Soda", and "The Power of Orange Knickers" kinda make sense after a few hours of studying and dissecting the lyrics.
  • The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band exemplify this trope. They were originally called the Bonzo Dog Dada Band, but Vivian Stanshall got tired of having to explain Dadaism to every other fan that he talked to and proposed a name change to their final name The Bonzo Dog Band.
  • 65daysofstatic in band name, which has never been clearly explained, as well as such song titles as "The Distant and Mechanized Glow of Eastern European Dance Parties" and "Install a Beak in the Heart That Clucks Time in Arabic".
    • This is very common in post-rock.
    • A Silver Mt. Zion, Stars of the Lid, Labradford, God is an Astronaut, Explosions in the Sky, Gastr del Sol, The Sea and Cake, Do Make Say Think, Lounge Piranha...
    • Godspeed You! Black Emperor was the title of an old Japanese film about bikers.
  • Music is Music as Devices are Kisses is Everything.
  • Current 93 in general. It might make sense if you have a Ph.D. in religious studies.
    • Album titles:
      • Swastikas for Noddy
      • Cats Drunk on Copper
      • Black Ships Ate The Sky
      • How I Devoured Apocalypse Balloon
      • Aleph on Hallucinatory Mountain
    • Songs:
      • Antichrist and Barcodes
      • This Autistic Imperium is Nihil Reich
      • Aleph is the Butterfly Net
  • Camper Van Beethoven's Telephone Free Landslide Victory (the band name may come off as one too, but it's actually a pun) - the originally intended title was "Telephone Tree Landslide Victory", but promo copies contained a misprint, which the band ran with because it was supposed to be a nonsensical title anyway.
    • The title of the Vampire Can Mating Oven EP is sometimes mistaken for an anagram of the band name. In truth, it's just word salad that's supposed to sound like it's an anagram of "Camper Van Beethoven". Most of the same letters are in both, but if you tried to rearrange the title back into the band name, you'd end up with something like "Camper Van Maiingtoven".
    • Our Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart looks like one at first glance, but it's actually an Album Title Drop from "Tania" (about Patty Hearst).
    • David Lowery's other group, Cracker, have the album Kerosene Hat, which is an in-joke-y nod to the early days of the group. When they started the band, Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman were living together in a dilapidated house that only had two kerosene heaters for warmth; when they ran out of kerosene, Lowery would have to bundle up, walk to the nearest gas station and buy more - the wool hunting cap he would put on for these excursions was thus his "kerosene hat". However, the Title Track, which has Word Salad Lyrics, doesn't mention the original context ("Here come ol' Kerosene Hat, with his earflaps waxed, courtin' his girl").
  • "Learnalilgivinanlovin" by Gotye. Almost a combo of this and Word Purée Title. But it still essentially makes sense though the reason it's all one word is unknown.
  • The Police had two albums titled with Gratuitous Spanish (Outlandos d'Amour, which actually isn't correct Spanish, or French) and Gratuitous French (Regatta de Blanc ). For the third, they opted for a word salad, Zenyatta Mondatta (apparently two invented portmanteau words, hinting at Zen, at Jomo Kenyatta, at monde - French for world -...and Reggatta, the previous album). Rejected titles included Caprido Von Renislam (referring to the street, Catharina van Renneslaan, where the studio was located) and Trimondo Blondomina (suggesting three blonds dominating the world).
  • Muscle Museum was supposedly named by taking a dictionary word either side of Muse.
  • The King Crimson song "The World's My Oyster Soup Kitchen Floor Wax Museum" sounds like nonsense, and it is, but both the song and lyrics are word-associations with each word (or phrase, as in "The World's My Oyster") related to the next in some way. So while saying it "makes sense" might be overstating, it at least is explainable in context.
    • "Mother Hold the Candle Steady While I Shave the Chicken's Lip" - an instrumental improvisation, so it needn't make sense.
  • Pink Floyd. The name itself doesn't make any sense. There is no band member named "Pink" or "Floyd" (but see below).
    • The Dark Side of the Moon (a voice notes at the end that "there is no dark side of the moon")
    • The Wall lampshades this with "Pink" being the lead character.
    • "Have a Cigar" alludes to this with the line "By the way, which one's Pink?"
      • Actually "Pink Floyd" is a shortened version of their earlier name: "The Pink Floyd Sound", derived from the names of two blues musicians founder Syd Barrett liked: Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.
    • Other albums with such titles include Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother, and The Division Bell.
  • Frank Zappa's albums tend to have this, such as Uncle Meat, Burnt Weeny Sandwich, The Grand Wazoo, Zoot Allures, and Sheik Yerbouti.
  • Post-rock band Giraffes? Giraffes! (punctuation sic) love this trope. Song names like "Fucking ants man! Where they coming from? (Let's hang the Carroll footnoteitsists)" are generally a clue.
  • "Strawberry Letter 23" by Shuggie Otis, made famous by The Brothers Johnson. Despite sounding like pure word salad, the title means exactly what it sounds like: Otis' girlfriend had written letters to him, presumably 22 of them, on strawberry-scented paper.
  • The first two My Chemical Romance records ( I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love and Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge were chock full of these. The third one, slightly less. They blame it on Morrissey.
    • Honey This Mirror Isn't Big Enough For the Both Of Us, Headfirst For Halos, It's Not A Fashion Statement, It's A Fucking Deathwish, You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison, I Never Told You What I Do For A Living
  • Brand New on "Deja Entendu" and "Your Favorite Weapon"
    • Jude Law and a Semester Abroad, I Will Play My Game Beneath the Spin Light, Okay I Believe You But My Tommy Gun Don't (a quote from Home Alone 2's film within a film Angels With Even Filthier Souls), Good To Know That If I Ever Need Attention All I Have To Do Is Dienote , Last Chance to Lose Your Keys, Logan to Government Center (a reference to Boston's subway system - the lyrics do mention New England).
    • They continue it on later albums with titles like The Archers Bows Are Broken, and (Fork and Knife).
  • Mindless Self Indulgence has a few of these. Not long titles, but titles that have nothing to do with anything. But considering who they are...
  • "Bruised Water" by Chicane and Natasha Bedingfield, named so since it's a mashup of Chicane's "Saltwater" and Bedingfield's "I Bruise Easily".
  • Nightwish has tons! "The Pharaoh Sails to Orion," "Ghost Love Score," "Deep Silent Complete," "Bare Grace Misery" and "Master Passion Greed," for example.
  • Canvas Solaris, a technical metal band from Georgia, names all their songs using seemingly random nerdy-sounding words/phrases and technical terms all thrown together. Examples include "Cosmopolysyndeton", "Conveyance of Flux", "Reticular Consciousness", and of course "Dark Matter, Accretion Disk, And Interacting Binary Neutron Star In A Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe".
  • Chiodos seem to be fond of this trope. From All's Well That Ends Well we have No Hardcore Dancing In The Living Room, There's No Penguins In Alaska and To Trixie And Reptile, Thanks For Everything, and Bone Palace Ballet (and the Updated Re-release The Grand Coda) brings us Lexington (Joey Pea Pot With A Monkey Face), I Didn't Say I Was Powerful, I Said I Was A Wizard, Teeth The Size Of Piano Keys and We Swam From Albatross, The Day We Lost Kailey Coast. The forthcoming third album Illuminaudio has Stratovolcano Mouth, Love Is A Cat From Hell and Hey Zeus! The Dungeon.
  • Polysics is known to do deploy this trope with certain song titles. For example, Colecanth is Android and New Wave Jacket.
  • For a period of time, Blue's Clues-host-turned-musician Steve Burns has a song title generator on his website that churns out song titles that're made of this trope.
  • An early EP by Super Furry Animals titled "Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochynygofod (In Space)".
  • Daft Punk got their name from a review in a newspaper.
  • The Swedish chiptune band Rymdreglage received complaints from international fans that their name is hard to spell and pronounce for non-Scandinavians, so they selected two English words at random from a cement mixer and came up with "Ninja Moped". They speculate on the name's meaning on their website.
  • Dance Gavin Dance has their share of strange titles, such as "It's Safe to Say You Dig the Backseat", or "And I Told Them I Invented Times New Roman", or why not "Surprise! I'm From Cuba, Everyone Has One Brain".
  • younnat has song titles like "Cardiologists Decided Not To Go To Bed".
  • The video game cover band Armcannon has an album titled RETURN of the ATTACK of the LEGEND of PIZZOR.
  • Tommy Stinson's Village Gorilla Head, as well as its title track. In one interview Stinson said that "Village Gorilla Head" was originally just a Working Title for the song, which he thought sounded like a cross between the Village People, Gorillaz and Radiohead.
  • Nirvana's seminal song "Smells Like Teen Spirit". Kurt Cobain took the phrase from some graffiti that a friend had scrawled on his wall: "Kurt Smells Like Teen Spirit", which poked fun at Cobain for having sex with his girlfriend so frequently that he smelled like her deodorant. Cobain didn't know what Teen Spirit was, so he thought the phrase had something to do with youthful rebellion. He didn't find out the phrase's real meaning until after he'd written the song.
    • Possibly worth mentioning that the friend and girlfriend in question were Kathleen Hanna and Tobi Vail of the seminal genre-naming Riot Grrrl punk band: Bikini Kill, who have a host of Word Salad Titles of their own.
    • More often than not, Nirvana's songs were this (usually combined with Non-Appearing Title). "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle", "Very Ape", "Territorial Pissings", "Big Long Now", "Mexican Seafood", "Aero Zeppelin"...
  • Imperial Teen's The Hair The TV The Baby & The Band sounds like a list of unconnected nouns, but actually describes what the members were doing during the five year gap between albums: One was a hair stylist, one was writing for television, one was raising a baby, and one was working on another musical project.
  • They Might Be Giants takes their name from a play, which was later adapted into a film as well. The main character thinks he's Sherlock Holmes and makes a speech about open-mindedness and curiosity in which he argues that Don Quixote should have thought that the windmills "might be giants" instead of being sure that they were.
    • There's also the title of their music video DVD Them Ain't Big Eye Ants - the title doesn't make any sense, but if you say it out loud fast enough it, of course, sounds like "They Might Be Giants".
    • A few of their album titles, as well, such as Mink Car and The Else.
  • Maximum the Hormone has a song called "Chu Chu Lovely Muni Muni Mura Mura Purin Purin Boron Nurururerorero". It is about...rape.
  • Plaid got the title of their album Rest Proof Clockwork via "Blind Idiot" Translation - the phrase appeared in an instruction manual.
  • Lindsey Stirling's "Electric Daisy Violin". Bizzarely, the title fits rather well.
  • Post-Rock band Do Make Say Think were initially formed to compose music for a youth dramatic production - the elementary school classroom they rehearsed in had the verbs "do", "make", "say", and "think" painted on different walls, so they adopted that as their name.
  • The Buzz of Delight, an early project of Matthew Sweet, got their name from a conversation between Michael Stipe and Linda Hopper of Magnapop (both of whom were friends of Sweet): Hopper was complaining about a buzzing light bulb in her kitchen and Stipe heard "the buzz of the lights" as "the buzz of delight".
  • Radio Birdman named themselves after a mondegreen of "1970" by The Stooges: The lyric in question was really "Radio burnin' up above".
  • Dir en grey, whose name is actually trilingual: "dir" in German is a second person dative pronoun and "en" = "in" in French. Consequently, the band's name is probably best translated as "To you in grey," though the use of the dative "dir" makes the exact meaning of the name a bit ambiguous.
  • Loose Fur is actually an obtuse pun-based band name: they wanted to call themselves Lucifer but found there were already several artists laying claim to that name.
  • The Velvet Monkeys have a name that sort of sounds like an arbitrary combination of an adjective and a plural noun. However, their name is meant to evoke two very different rock bands from the 1960s: Velvet Underground and The Monkees.
  • Swirlies' album Blonder Tongue Audio Baton, titled after a graphic equalizer manufactured by Blonder Tongue Laboratories, which they used extensively during the recording of the album.
  • Modest Mouse has quite a few songs with Word Salad Titles: "Ocean Breathes Salty," "People As Places As People", "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine" and, more recently, "The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box", to name a few.
  • Death Cab for Cutie took its name from a song the Bonzo Dog Band performed in The Beatles' TV special Magical Mystery Tour.
  • John Lennon released an album of past solo cuts. The album's title: "Shaved Fish."
  • Japanese Garage Rock band Thee Michelle Gun Elephant have a name that sounds like pure Gratuitous English, but is actually a Shout-Out to two of their influences: An early demo recording of theirs featured cover versions of Thee Headcoats and songs from the album Machine Gun Etiquette by The Damned. A friend of theirs had trouble pronouncing "Machine Gun Etiquette" when referring to said demo, and they decided it sounded like a good band name.
  • Blonde Redhead's Melody Of Certain Damaged Lemons combines the titles of several songs on the album: "Melody Of Certain 3", "For The Damaged", and "Ballad Of Lemons". Their oxymoron of a band name comes from a song by No Wave group DNA.
  • Butthole Surfers have a lot of song or album titles that are just plain bizarre, but at least one that has a bit of context to it: They titled an EP Cream Corn From The Socket Of Davis because they wanted the cover art to depict Sammy Davis Jr. with his glass eye out and cream corn coming out of his socket. They ultimately went with a totally different artwork concept but kept the title.
  • The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Their trumpet player stated that he'd like to be in a band with that name, and the rest of the band liked it.
  • Helms frequently use song titles that have nothing to do with the lyrics, though they've explained at least some of them as band in-jokes: For instance, "Sno-Cone Lizard" got its title from an incident where, as a teenager, a member surreptitiously put a The Jesus Lizard sticker on the family car - his mother found the band's name offensive, and rather than have to scrape the whole sticker off, she just partially covered it up with a "sno-cone" sticker.
  • Letters to Cleo, who got their name from the fact that lead vocalist Kay Hanley had a pen pal named Cleo growing up - she happened to find an old box of returned letters to Cleo while they were still deciding on a name. Wholesale Meats And Fish was supposedly something they saw on a sign and just decided would be an amusing thing to call an album.
  • Alanis Morissette with her album title, Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie.
  • SOPHIE's debut studio album is titled OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES. This does have a proper meaning — it's a reverse-mondegreen of "I love every person's insides," alluding to themes present the album — but the arrangement of the title itself is still really odd.
  • Iron and Wine: Sam Beam was once in a gas station where he noticed an aisle of old-fashioned home remedies and dietary supplements, including one called "Beef, Iron & Wine". Dropping the first word, he picked it as the name for his recording project because it suggested a certain "duality" to him, as well as because it was more interesting-sounding than just his own name.
  • Neon Trees named themselves for lighted palm trees in front of In-N-Out Burger restaurants. They just thought said trees looked cool, but by coincidence, they later found out band member Branden Campbell's father installed the trees in front of the In-N-Out in their home state of Utah.
  • Prog rockers Emerson, Lake & Palmer had an album called Brain Salad Surgery. It was reputedly a reference to a blow job.
  • Islands got their song title "Jogging Gorgeous Summer" from a post-it note Nick Thorburn's girlfriend had left him one morning (presumably meaning that the weather was beautiful, so she went jogging). The lyrics don't really have anything to do with summer or jogging, but it's a love song with a tropical, "summery" feel, so the title sort of fits.
  • The 1973 breakthrough album from Joe Walsh, soon to become even more famous as part of the Eagles, was The Smoker You Drink, the Player You Get.note 
  • The Brian Jonestown Massacre song "Nailing Honey To The Bee" ended up with its title as an in-joke: Anton Newcombe was constantly changing the title and lyrics of the song, and at one point it had gone from being called "Did You See Them (Nailing Jesus To The Tree)" to "Like Honey To The Bee". Producer/multi-instrumentalist Rob Campanella jokingly called it "Nailing Honey To The Bee" and that became the new title.
  • The name of Canadian indie band Tokyo Police Club is pure word salad served up by a random band name generator website.
  • Choo Choo Hot Fish by The Stray Cats - it's a Shout-Out to a since-demolished soul food fish restaurant in Chattanooga, Tennessee, near where the album itself was recorded.
  • Nobody in Billy Talent is named Billy Talent. Rather, they're named after a character from Hard Core Logo.
  • Many of Flaming Lips song and albums fall into this trope, with bizarre names like 'Hit to Death in the Future Head' note  'The Sparrow Looks Up at the Machine', 'The Train Runs Over the Camel, But Is Derailed by the Gnat', and 'Placebo Headwound', but two songs stand out for how straightforward their bizarre titles are when you listen to the lyrics:
    • 'Thank You Jack White (for the Fiber-Optic Jesus That You Gave Me)' off the Fight Test EP sounds like nonsense on the surface, until you realize it's a pretty straightforward song Lips frontman Wayne Coyne wrote to thank Jack White, the lead singer of The White Stripes for giving him a fibre-optic Jesus statue as a gift at a show the two bands played in Detroit.
    • 'The Big Ol' Bug Is the New Baby Now', the closing track off Zaireeka, seems like almost a tongue-in-cheek parody of The Lips' proclivity for nonsense titles, as the majority of its lyrics are Wayne Coyne telling a story about his dogs, a stuffed animal and a box of plastic bugs that explains what the title actually means.
  • Idol Singer units in Japan could have a wiki on their own. One example among dozens can be Chameleon Republic, supposedly named after the concept of "continually transforming idols". Also counts as a Non-Indicative Name, since nothing about them changed after their establishment.
  • Alternative rapper JPEGMAFIA (he's one guy). Makes a tiny bit more sense if you know the origin- according to the most commonly accepted story, he was part of a rap collective in the vein of A$AP Mob (so members were called pngafia, datpiffmafia, etc). Still doesn't explain why they named themselves after file formats.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • New Japan Pro-Wrestling makes enough sense from the first reader. International Wrestling Grand Prix, while nonsensical given that it describes an athletic commission rather than a racing event, still gets the point across quickly. New Blood Evolution Valiantly Eternal Radical, or NEVER, not so much. NEVER's a B Show about young talents and independent wrestlers.
  • Several Japanese promotions have titles that only make sense if you're familiar with the promotion's history. AtoZ was intentionally named this way, for example. Some are a combination of poor translation/transliteration and Gratuitous English, such as Fighting Detective Team BattlARTS. Some have an inherently weird gimmick that's just hard to capture in words like Fighting Opera HUSTLE. With some, such as Big Mouth Loud, you might as well forget trying to figure it out and just watch the matches.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Ancient Ruler Dinosaur King DKidz Adventure - rather sensibly retitled Dinosaur King when released in English.
  • While the "Magic" part of it certainly makes sense, the latter portion of the title of Magic: The Gathering doesn't really mean anything at all. It was only added because "Magic" by itself was too broad a term to be copyrighted.
  • A card from The Spoils, called "Exploding Sock Puppet!", is a Word Salad Shout-Out to the video game version of fellow card game Magi-Nation. The illustration is an actual sock puppet exploding, but the flavor text is "Taxi apple sponge! Skunks playing poker, basketball cheesesteak!" This gibberish was all that Magi Nation's protagonist could hear from the land's natives before they gave him some seeds to help translate.
  • There are many unofficial Cards Against Humanity expansion packs, and most of them have names that can be initialized as CAH and have the same amount of syllables as the game, but otherwise make little sense: Crabs Adjust Humidity is one of the more nonsensical examples.
  • Grave Robbers from Outer Space, a card game parodying B-movies, starts the game by having the players draw a few random cards and make a title for the "movie" they're making by using random words on the bottom.

  • BIONICLE's meaning was defined as a portmanteau of "Biological Chronicle" — the "chronicle" part has always been clear, but which part of "elemental-power wielding multicolor cyborgs fighting to awaken a comatose god" does "biological" refer to? 8 years into the story, it tuned out that god has been a Humongous Mecha who had housed the universe this entire time, and all the characters are part of his biology. Then you realize that the heroes are basically white blood cells, their canisters are medicine capsules, Mata Nui (the giant robot) was taken down with a virus, some of the lands inside him are analogous to organs, etc. Also, co-creator Christian Faber came up with the concept during a medical treatment.
  • Cars from the Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! series and its sequels tend to have names that might come across as weird or incoherent to a native English speaker, like "Brocken Gigant" and "Gun Bluster" to name a few.

    Video Games 
  • In and of itself, Pokémon sounds nonsensical, but is in fact short for Pocket Monster. And the reason for Pocket Monster is that Pokémon are monsters that are kept in capsules that easily fit in the palm of your hand and can be shrunk to an even smaller size, which makes them very easy to carry around (and, in the meta sense, the games themselves were pocket-sized and exclusive to handheld systems until they were forced to upsize to the Nintendo Switch). Before you ask, the reason they couldn't just call the game "Pocket Monsters" outside of Japan is because of a competing trademark from Monster in My Pocket.
    • What's aggravating, the acute accent on the 'é' was added to emphasize the correct pronunciation — not "pokey" or "poke" as in "jab with a finger" — and it is still mispronounced (at least by English speakers, who generally aren't familiar with acute accents).
  • Guilty Gear. While it is not about cogwheels or machinery with troubled pasts, the name itself refers to the protagonist who is a creature called a "gear" and is partially responsible for events that lead to the deaths of many people. In the first game, it even receives a Title Drop, the protagonist referring to himself as such, in one of his endings.
  • The Neon Genesis Evangelion game called "Girlfriend of Steel" took place in an Alternate Universe where the Jet Alone project succeeded in creating metal mecha in competition with the Evangelion. The title likely refers to Mana, a runaway pilot of one of these mecha. It's possible that "Girlfriend of Steel" is a poor translation of the English term "Iron Maiden." There was a sequel to this, which changes the genre of the Evangelion-verse into that of a Dating Sim. However, it was a sequel in name only, as it had nothing to do with the first "Girlfriend of Steel" game. So when a manga of this second game was produced, in the West, it was given the title "Angelic Days."
    • Neon Genesis Evangelion itself can appear to be this for those who don't know Greek since the "English" title is, in fact, a Greek title - the Word of God's translation of "Shinseiki Evangelion" - which is pretty close to literal; most native speakers of English and Greek, however, would have used Neo instead of Neon, though they mean the same (Greek for "new").
    • Similarly, the official name of the first game was "Koutetsu no Girlfriend" (Steel Girlfriend). Iron Maiden is listed on the back cover. The second game has both English names on the front cover, right below the kanji. The comic was likely changed for the American release, so they wouldn't be sued into a hole.
      • As stated above in Anime, Neon is "New One" so it becomes New One Gospel of Creation or directly as New One Origin Gospel. In either case it seems to be more accurate to the aftermath of episode 26.
  • Original title of Pathologic is "Мор. Утопия/Mor. Utopia" — Russian for "Pestilence. Utopia". It really makes sense in context, because the game is about plagued city and utopist ideas play a very significant part in the plot. This is also a Shout-Out to he work Utopia written by Thomas More.
  • Spiritual Assassin Taromaru, though in all fairness you're a ninja with psychic powers.
  • Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow. Parodied in Penny Arcade with rejected titles, such as Splinter Cell: Peanut Butter Monkey and Splinter Cell: Puppy Helmet. In some circles, Penny Arcade's point was accepted with such vigor that the game was more often referred to as Puppy Helmet than by its actual name. Swedish PC Gamer jokingly referred to the game as Splinter Cell: Flundra Okänd, which translates to "Splinter Cell: [the] Flounder [is] unknown". "Pandora Tomorrow" makes sense if you play the game: "Pandora Tomorrow" is a code phrase used by the terrorists in the game as a Dead Man's Switch; everytime the call is made, they delay the opening of Pandora's box (a weaponized virus set to go off at LAX) to tomorrow (if the leader is killed or arrested, the phone call isn't made and the weapon is released).
  • Baten Kaitos: Eternal Wings and the Lost Ocean. Not sure 'bout the wings bit, but the world once had an ocean that was swallowed by an evil god and now resides inside the Queen of Wazn. Yeah, this game was made on LSD.
    • The title of the prequel, Baten Kaitos Origins, before localization effectively shoved its predecessor aside. Baten Kaitos II: The Beginning of the Wings and the Heir of the Gods. Although both are sort-of explained, it isn't by the main story- it's explained in a subplot that takes place 1000 years in the past inside the player/guardian spirit/afterling/Marno's memories.
  • Makai Kingdom may seem like an example at first, until you learn that "makai" is what is translated (but not literally) as "the netherworld" in Nippon Ichi games, so it is actually Gratuitous Japanese.
    • Would you rather have it as Phantom Kingdom? For those that don't know, that's the game's original name in Japan.
  • Valkyrie Profile: It's the profile of a Valkyrie. Maybe several valkyries. "Profile" meaning "a short biographical account of somebody" in this case. It could also refer to the side view used for normal gameplay since a view of someone from the side is called a profile view.
  • Metal Gear Solid. Metal Gear is the nuke-firing mech Snake must prevent the activation of, whose name isn't actually explained all that well to begin with (and the Metal Gear featured in this game is actually called Metal Gear REX). "Solid" refers to the lead character Solid Snake (whose name is meant to be a contrast between sneakiness and strength) and that it was the first game in the series to feature 3D graphics, and hence "solids". It was also the third installment of the series, following the first two MSX2 releases.
  • Syphon Filter. For some reason, the virus which plays a part in at least the earlier games is called the "syphon filter" virus, as though it was derived from something deadly to tank-kept fish. Late 1990s to early 2000 stealth games seemingly had a word salad title as a TRC. The Syphon Filter virus is able to target "...any specific demographics, ethnic groups. It can wipe out all continents, except those who are chosen to survive." A siphon sucks liquid from a place to another; a filter keeps undesirable elements away. The similarity? Cleansing.
  • Samurai Shodown, although it does have samurai and is a fighting game, it also has catgirls, ninja, fat guys, nature spirits, kabuki actors, and cranes disguising themselves as maids as playable characters. The samurai class was the warrior class, not the "we have to dress in a specific type of armor and use a katana" class. Granted, historically most ninja were not from the warrior class but it's still a fitting title because once you get rid of the class system, a samurai is simply a warrior.
    • The original title is Samurai Spirits. The implication is that they have the mindset of a samurai... be strong, be brave, fight to the death, stand up to evil, etc... but are not literally samurai. This makes sense, as the time period (the late 18th century) would be well beyond the era of bushido-bound loyal-unto-death noble warriors. One of Galford's prefight quotes even lampshades this: "My eyes are blue, but I have samurai spirits!"
    • You can also argue that this is an Artifact Title from the first and second Haohmaru-centric (well, kinda) games, as Haohmaru definitely is a samurai (well, kinda).
  • Real Bout Fatal Fury Special: Dominated Mind: The PlayStation port of Real Bout Fatal Fury Special, which is an Oddly Named Sequel to Real Bout Fatal Fury (and not really a sequel, strictly speaking), itself an Oddly Named Sequel in the series lineup. The port gets its own name because it gets lots of extra stuff, including a story. The "dominated mind" in question is Billy Kane, whom White brainwashes into fighting you.
  • Touhou Project: While the main part of the games' titles usually references the Big Bad or final stage in some way, the English subtitles (by which they are better known in the West) tend to be like this. For instance, Touhou Kaeidzukanote  ~ Phantasmagoria of Flower View. Well, Phantasmagoria means something like a hallucination of some sort so it all boils to seeing flowers that aren't really there, which is somewhere around half-way to what the plot's actually about. And this is just the start - no, Shoot The Bullet is not about what you think it is about.
    • The average Touhou Project game title typically does not make any sense until after beating the game or fighting a certain boss and is rarely as simple as stated. Examples include Touhou Koumakyounote  ~ the Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, Touhou Youyoumunote  ~ Perfect Cherry Blossom, Touhou Chireidennote  ~ Subterranean Animism, and Touhou Shinreibyounote  ~ Ten Desires. The few straightforward games include Yousei Daisensounote  ~ Touhou Sangetsusei and the incredibly flexible Touhou Fuujinrokunote  ~ Mountain of Faith.
    • This led to a curious incident where so many Westerners expected the game Touhou Hisoutensoku ~ Choudokyuu Ginyoru no Nazo o Oenote  to have an English subtitle that for a while a large number of people were convinced it was called "Unthinkable Natural Law", an early translation of the first part of its title (which is actually a Pun on the previous fighting game Hisouten and Gakutensoku, the first Japanese robot).
  • Armored Core. "Nine Breaker?" "For Answer?" You can sort of justify them—"Nine Breaker" is an in-universe title given to a Raven who beats the #1 pilot in the arena, who's usually called Nine Ball, and "For Answer" is just an incredibly lame pun, as it's the follow up to Armored Core 4. But even then, they're still just weird, and they're still broken English.
  • BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger. Not a disaster movie about blue fire, but one of the names of the Artifact of Doom the protagonist possesses. As for the "Calamity Trigger" part; considering it's an Artifact of Doom, that would certainly trigger a calamity. Could also be explained by the fact that said protagonist is a part of an Eldritch Abomination that caused The End of the World as We Know It in the game's backstory, and at the end of his story mode, he is thrown into some sort of time portal into the past with the other half of said Abomination, where she fuses with him against his will to become the Black Beast. Thus, Triggering a Calamity. (He gets better...sorta.)
  • The Ace Attorney series pulled out one of these to break up what was becoming a string of Colon Cancer titles: Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. It makes sense in context, as the game focuses on an "ace" attorney, Miles Edgeworth, who solves murders through investigations.
  • Silhouette Mirage: Reprogrammed Hope. Outside Japan, the title was shortened to Silhouette Mirage. This one makes sense in context. Silhouette Mirage refers to the two character alignments, the brawny Silhouettes and the brainy Mirages. Reprogrammed Hope is a bit stickier, but given that the game takes place inside a series of computer programs and that the protagonist is attempting to repair it, the elements are there.
  • Fear Effect and its sequel Retro Helix. "Fear Effect" refers to the gameplay element in which your character's health and vulnerability are affected by fear. "Retro Helix" refers to a type of DNA that is connected to EINDS, an AIDS-like disease, in the game.
  • X3: Albion Prelude. "Albion" refers to the player ship of the (currently unreleased) X Rebirth, the Albion Skunk, while "prelude" refers to the fact that this expansion is a prelude to the gate system shutdown that precedes the thousand-odd-year timeskip between X3:AP and XR.
  • In Alpha Protocol, all of Steven Heck's names he give to operations in Taipei. Operation Turbo Panther. Operation Latex Turtle. Operation Angry Bees. Operation YYYEEEAAAHHH!!!
  • Ninja Baseball Batman. Yes, this is a real game, and yes, it makes sense in context. But the Dark Knight is nowhere to be found in this game. Well, you see, the title is not referring to Batman, but a bat man, as in a man who carries a baseball bat. So, in fact, this game is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Ninjas with baseball bats go around beating the shit out of things.
  • Drunken Robot Pornography, by Dejobaan games. It centers around fighting a series of visually-astounding and incredibly defective robots in an arena. The rest of the title is vaguely explained by the fact that the Big Bad was a former barman robot who gained sentience, and the 12 bosses are called also "Centerfolds". It doesn't affect the gameplay in any way (it can be described as first person Bullet Hell) and the "Centerfolds" aren't humanoid in the least.
  • The ZX Spectrum game Fat Worm Blows a Sparky. The player character is a worm, and "sparkies" are the ammunition it fires at bugs.
  • Mass Effect: The title plays on the consequences your choices will have in the series, but the words also refer to how the universe's Phlebotinum causes an object's Mass to reduce to nothing, allowing Faster-Than-Light Travel, Artificial Gravity, and pretty much everything else that makes the universe work the way it does. Fortunately, this is quickly explained in the game's Star Wars-esque opening crawl, leading directly into the Title Drop.
  • Banjo-Kazooie is made from the names of the two lead characters. Its sequel Banjo-Tooie has "two" mixed in for flavor. Spiritual Successor Yooka-Laylee is the same, while also being a pun on "ukulele".
  • A knockoff of Pump It Up is currently making rounds in certain arcades in Asia whose owners are too cheap to buy the real deal. It's called King Of Dancer. Yes, it's pretty clear that they are trying to ape The King of Fighters' title, but it just pushes the title of the knockoff into this trope due to the broken grammar.
  • Tokyo Mirage Sessions ♯FE: It takes place in Tokyo, Mirages are spirits that you team up with or fight against, and Sessions are the combos you initiate when you hit an enemy's weak spot (or fulfill other requirements). The "sharp" symbol is because the story revolves around the Idol Singer business. FE stands for Fire Emblem, because the game is a crossover between it and Shin Megami Tensei. So why isn't SMT alluded to in the title? It is, actually; Tokyo Mirage Sessions can be shortened to TMS, which is SMT backwards. But without all this context, this game has one hot mess of a title.
  • Similar to the Shawshank example listed in the Film section, the title of Horizon Zero Dawn can seem confusing until you actually start the game and get far enough in to learn about Project Zero Dawn.
  • Always Sometimes Monsters seems like a title that makes little sense on reading. It does make sense later in the game, as it becomes clear the story is about the fact that people will always do things wrong sometimes in order to get by.
  • Runaway 2: The Dream of the Turtle looks like this at first, but eventually, the meaning behind the title is explained. "Dream" is what the Trantorians call the suspended animation animals are subjected to while on route to their Zoo. Each mission is subsequently named after this and the animal they are after, with the current one literally being The Dream of the Turtle.
  • Tobal No. 1 seems like a redundant case of Title 1 in an otherwise-nonsensically titled franchise, but A) Tobal is a planet within the game's setting, and B) Tobal No. 1, in particular, refers to a fighting tournament taking place there.
  • Another Eden isn't explained initially, but eventually you find out that Eden is a person. How and why there's "another" one becomes complicated and spoilery. The game also has the subtitle The Cat Beyond Time and Space; the "Beyond Time and Space" part is because the game involves time travel, and there does turn out to be a cat involved but that's another spoiler.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles may seem like a confusing title for people with little familiarity with the series, possibly only knowing it exists thanks to Super Smash Bros. However, there is actual meaning behind the title. The “Xeno” prefix, means “strange,” or “foreign,” and in the main games, the main character wields a magic sword that is integral to the main plot, so in a way, the games are called, “The Chronicles of the Strange Blades.” This is even further evident since the first game was originally called “Monodo, Beginning of the World” with the Monodo being the sword in question.

    Web Animation 
  • The title of Porkchop 'n Flatscreen! does seem weird, but it makes sense when you realize it refers to the, er, sizes of the two main characters (Porkchop = Ayane, Flatscreen = Mai).
  • DSBT InsaniT: The Special Info Episode reveals that DSBT stands for DylSchoolBlindTure, which is a mashup of two story titles.

  • Bob and George is a completed Sprite Comic that for the first ten or so story arcs contained no characters named Bob and no characters named George. This is because it evolved from a filler comic that was shown while the author was trying to make a hand-drawn comic, but said attempts at the hand-drawn comic ultimately failed three times, and what once had been filler became the main comic while retaining the other comic's title. The titular characters eventually made their way into the sprite comic, finally giving the name an in-universe explanation.
  • El Goonish Shive: In-universe: As part of the Masquerade, spellbooks have an enchantment that gives them fake titles, intended to make them look like regular books to the casual observer. Unfortunately, the titles are created automagically, so we get things like "The Tacos Of Yesteryear" and "The Ecology of Anteaters".
  • Flaky Pastry is an Urban Fantasy Sitcom which has nothing to do with baking like the title would imply. However, it's named after how the barriers between different planes are like a flaky pastry with holes and tunnels that can be travelled through.
  • Homestuck's title is somewhat confusing, but makes slightly more sense in context; several characters are indeed stuck at home at various points in the story.
    • Some of the chapter titles fall into this, such as 'penis ouija' and 'I'M PUTTING YOU ON SPEAKER CRAB'. However, the majority of them turn out to be phrases which come up somewhere in that chapter.
  • Mob Psycho 100: The protagonist is such a Generic Guy that he could disappear in any crowd, hence his In-Series Nickname "Mob". "Psycho" refers to his Psychic Powers, as well as the fact that he goes berserk when his emotions "top out" (represented by a scale of zero to one hundred). The title could also be a play on the phrase "mob psychology", which fits with how many people seem to start blindly following Mob for one reason or another, with him even getting his own religion.
  • The Phoenix Requiem has no phoenix in it. And no requiem, for that matter. It is, however, about a guy who can't die (he keeps rising from the dead, essentially) and is a walking psychopomp.
  • Sluggy Freelance, the strangeness of which was lampshaded time and time again in the comic itself for most of seventeen years, turns out to be a fair description of the strip's premise: the adventures of Sluggy, exiled God of Power, going freelance, Torg Sluggy (it's his middle name), freelance web designer, and Riff aka agent Sluggy, whose cover is "freelance bum". It's been Arc Words for some time due to the machinations of time-spider Googol, who gathers all Potentials in one place to ensure K'Z'K's ultimate defeat.
  • Fans always assumed that Sticky Dilly Buns referred to the lead character, the good-looking Camp Gay Dillon, and his butt, but nobody knew for sure; some saw it as almost a Word Purée Title. Then, well into the comic's second volume, one strip confirmed the meaning of the terms, and another strip a few days later provided further confirmation with a full Title Drop.
  • Vinigortonio. The name is a mashup of the names Vinicius, Igor, and Antonio, even though only the first two are actual characters in the comic. Antonio is never mentioned at all.

    Web Original 
  • Chaos Fighters has two examples: Cyberion Strike refers to the name of the attack launched by the Big Bad at the end and KIMIA which refers to potassium (kalium as of IUPAC official name) iodide which declared as being in MIA status.
  • The Saga of Tuck has a band named Stepwise Pagoda. The members admit that they made up the name by picking words at random from a dictionary.
  • The various installments of Spaghetti Ice combines this trope with Long Title. The work's titles are written as if they were a cryptic Crossword Puzzle clue, and thus, are meant to be decoded to reach their true meaning.
    • Awkwardly Step Around Him for a Fresh Herb
    • It's Cardinal He's in the Common Era

    Web Videos 
  • lonelygirl15. Fans from before the videos were hosted on will know that lonelygirl15 was original protagonist Bree's screenname on YouTube and Revver, but she is never called that in the series itself. Also an example of Artifact Title.
  • Tay Zonday (Adam Nyerere Bahner), composer of Chocolate Rain said "I wanted a catchy artist name that had zero search results on Google"
  • Marble Hornets, in-universe, is the student film that Jay and Alex were making. In reality, it is just the first two things the creators saw when brainstorming the title. Many fans have pointed out that the 2000 novel House of Leaves, which shares many stylistic and atmospheric elements with the series, conspicuously uses the term "marble horses" at one point, possibly inspiring the title.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: "The Console" has Gumball, Darwin and Anais sucked into a game called "Inverted Paradox: The Enemy Within." Gumball considers it this trope until it's revealed the main enemy is the game they've been playing the whole time.
  • Big City Greens is about a family of farmers moving to Big City (and yes, it really is called that), with the farmers in question being the Green family. This means that, in a way, the show is called, The Greens in Big City.
  • Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese. With that mouthful title alone, it would honestly be easy to assume the creators named the cartoon this way as an intentional misnomer, (sort of like Aqua Teen Hunger Force below) but it's actually the name of all six of the main cast. (who are noticeably the only characters in the entire show with this trope in effect)
  • Evil Con Carne: "Con Carne" is the (sort of evil) main character's surname, though it's also Spanish for "with meat", possibly a reference to him not only being a Brain in a Jar but also having his stomach in a jar.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go sounds like a parody of anime titles, the Power Rangers series, and a rip-off of Teen Titans all in one...and that's before you actually watch it and see that it is indeed a show about a team of robotic monkeys (and one human kid) who pilot a Super Robot and are called the "Hyperforce" for short (maybe related to "masterforce" from Transformers). The "Go" is just something they shout out as a battle cry (and possibly a pun of the Japanese word for "five", as there are five monkeys).
  • Wishfart sounds like it's meant to be Toilet Humour, but it's a combination of "wish" and "brainfart", as the series is about a leprechaun who grants wishes that always screw up. Additionally, all episodes have non-sequitur names like "Clown Shoes Never Solved Anything", "And They Ate the Goldfish", and "Does This Please the Jigmaster?" — all derived from actual lines uttered in the episode and taken out of context. Regardless, they add to the show's surreal nature.

    Real Life 
  • There's an Australian city in the state of Queensland called the City of Townsville. Yes. The City of Town City. Or maybe City Town Village. Makes sense when you realise it was founded by Robert Towns. Rather than The Powerpuff Girls.
  • Every single show dog and show horse must have a unique name. This leads to...unusual names. Also Thoroughbred racehorses, which gets odder because if a horse wins enough races, people allude to his name in naming his children. For example, one of Secretariat's sons was named "General Assembly."
    • In Japan, there is a horse named "Sumomomomomomomomo" (Japanese: "スモモモモモモモモ") which means "plums and peaches are both peaches," and is based off a tongue twister.
  • Someone unfamiliar with the Android operating system would have trouble with this headline: "Galaxy Nexus: Android Ice Cream Sandwich guinea pig." (Galaxy Nexus is a specific smartphone model, and Ice Cream Sandwich is the name of a then-recent version of Android, so the intended meaning is "this new phone is testing out the new version of Android.")
  • Another confusing headline: "Raging Loop Scenario Writer Amphibian." Raging Loop is a Visual Novel and an example in and of itself. Its scenario writer—a somewhat obtuse term for the video-game equivalent of a screenwriter—goes by the nickname "Amphibian." The article is an interview with this person.
  • Yet another confusing headline: Artificial Nose Apes Dog Snout. "Apes" is being used as a verb here, as in "imitates" - the article is about an artificially constructed nose which detects scents by mimicking the snout of a dog.
  • Many fraternal organizations and titles can veer into this territory, like the "Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World" and the "Ancient Egyptian Arabic Order Nobles Mystic Shrine."
  • Like the show dogs and racehorses example, forums and online games require all users to have a unique name. This naturally leads to this trope.
  • The tattoo style "Trash Polka": The artists who created the style initially called it "Realistic Trash Polka" because the style combined photo-realistic images with text and abstract strokes (or "trash") in an organized way, like a musical composition (or a "polka"). "Realistic" was dropped from the name because they thought it sounded like they were "setting rules" for the style.
  • On the eastern seaboard of the US is a regional grocery store chain known as Food Lion. The chain, founded in the late 1950s under the name Food Town, was rapidly expanding outside of its native North Carolina and running into areas that already had numerous stores named Food Town, necessitating a name change. When the name change to Food Lion was announced in 1982, the general American public was confused; where does one get a name like "Food Lion" from and what do lions have to do with groceries anyway? The answer: Food Town had been acquired years prior by the Belgian retail company Delhaize Group, which was known once upon a time as "Delhaize Le Lion" and had long had an abstract lion as their logo, while one of the co-founders of Food Town itself realized they could quickly change the stores' names by simply replacing two letters (the T and the W) and moving the O over one space, thus the name Food Lion was born.

Examples that Make Just as Much Sense in Context:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross is kind of on the borderline, since the titular warship eventually becomes a mobile space fortress (in the sense of protecting a vulnerable group of civilians inside) which is capable of faster-than-light travel (hence "super-dimensional", transcending the dimensions). The "Super Dimensional" part may have referred to the huge size of the ship, which was stated to be a rather large Supervision Army warship. That said, the "Super Dimension" tag was mostly appended at the request of the sponsor to tie it in with two unrelated series that would run in the same timeslot after Macross had finished its run. As for the "Macross"? That was a compromise between Studio Nue and a producer from the sponsor, who was a big fan of Shakespeare. Had he had his way, the show would have been Choujikyuu yosai Makubesu. Another working title was Palace Robo Dockingham...
    • The Choujikyuu in the original Japanese title translates as "transcending space-time", as in physical concept, a rather fitting title to an SF show.
    • The show's name in English also allowed the title ship to be called the SDF-1, which is a play on the Japanese "Self-Defense Forces," the post-WWII Japanese military.
  • The second Super Dimension series, Super Dimension Century Orguss, also makes a bit of sense, as the plot revolves around a war between various alternate dimensions, with the main character piloting a mech called Orguss. The century part, less so, as the war only lasts for around 50 episodes.
  • Super Heavy God Gravion is curiouser still, especially since the kanji for "superheavy" can also mean "overweight".
  • Fate/stay night. One translated version, demanding a title that made more sense, came out as The Night that Fate Stood Still. This does not, however, explain the sequel, which is titled Fate/hollow ataraxia. Ataraxia means something like "tranquility" in Greek, making the title "hollow tranquility", or possibly "empty dream" (which does describe the situation perfectly).
    • "Fate" is often used as the name of the setting itself (as opposed to other Nasuverse settings like Tsukihime and The Garden of Sinners), which makes some of the titles (sequel Fate/hollow ataraxia, light novel prequel Fate/Zero, and Fighting Game spinoff Fate/unlimited codes) make more sense. Naturally, under this theory, "Stay Night" still requires some linguistic hoop-jumping...
    • It may start to make sense as the story goes on. The subject of "fate" recurs throughout the story (and there are Multiple Endings through three different routes, some endings being Bad Ends and some being Normal/Good/True Ends), and "stay night" can refer to how large parts of the story take place at night as well as how each route branches off because of "staying the night" (Unlimited Blade Works happens if Shirou tells Saber to stay put instead of going after Archer, and Heaven's Feel happens if Shirou stays the night with Sakura, so fate literally changes if you "stay the night"). It's also possible that "stay night" refers Shirou romancing a different love interest depending on with route he takes (and yes, maybe it's also referring to the sex scenes).
    • That's nothing compared to the Magical Girl spinoff Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA. "Fate" makes sense as the setting, and Illya as she's the main magical girl, while "kaleid" references the "Kaleidoscope" magic that Zelretch built into their wands, but "Prisma" is a bit unexplained (maybe it's an abbreviation of "prismatic"?) and "liner" is just an extremely extremely obscure reference. Then again, it's not exactly a terribly serious series.
  • Trigun is a non-sequitur, but far less mind-wrenching than the subtitle/genre description: "Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action!" The fact that this was perfectly accurate a descriptor of Trigun as anyone could come up with only makes things sadder. Various possible meanings of the actual title are hotly debated among fans. Some took the title to refer to the fact that Vash has three guns: the one in a holster, the cyberarm that turns into a gun in emergencies, and the Angel Arm cannon.
  • The original title of the Battle Angel Alita manga is Hyper Future Vision Gunnm, where "Gunnm" (properly pronounced "Gan-mu") stands for "Gun Dream", which makes sense, as we are talking about a hyper-violent dystopic manga. It might also refer to Alita's battle-and-gore fetish. Ironically, guns are actually outlawed in the Gunnm universe, or at least the region where the story starts. Quite common elsewhere.
  • Geobreeders justification for the title has been found.
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5. Okay, "Precure" is established, and there are five of them, but "Yes"?
  • Blue Gender. "Blue" refers to the enemies, the Blue, but "Gender" only make any sense if you use its archaic meaning of "class/type", then it could refer to how the Blue are mutant humans.
  • The dubbed eleventh season of Pokémon: The Series is referred to as Pokémon: Battle Dimension. Has absolutely nothing to do with other dimensions.
  • D.Gray-Man: None of the main character's names starts with D. There's nothing particularly gray. There are men, though. The Noahs go kind of gray... Word of God is that it's from early drafts: "Gray" was Allen's name and the "D" stood for the Akuma, which were "dolls". The author liked the names and kept them for the title. Alternatively, it could be a(n unconscious) Shout-Out to The Picture of Dorian Gray due to the Akuma ability to retain their (borrowed) human forms after mutating and doing horrible things in the service of the The Millennium Earl and the Noahs - at least for a while, but by the time they can no longer retain their old forms they don't care.
    • Another theory is that the D. stands for dolls, which was a potential name for the manga, Gray refers to the fact that people are neither white (good) or black (evil), but gray, and Man refers to humans.
    • In recent chapters it was revealed that D. is a part of a name: Mana and Nea D. Campbell.
  • Bakuman。 has this with manga within a manga: the various fictional titles of manga run in Shonen Jump range from "Cheese Okaki" to "God of Catalogs John". Of course, it doesn't help that you have no idea what those series are about.
  • The original Japanese title of the shoujo manga Mad Love Chase, Harlem Beat wa Yoake Made, translates as Harlem Beat Until Dawn. In the author's notes, Takashima cheerfully admits that she just liked the way it sounded.
  • Pani Poni Dash!: The term "paniponi" is mentioned more than once throughout the series, but what is it supposed to even mean?
  • BLAME! doesn't actually involve any finger-pointing whatsoever. None. The lead characters rarely even talk. It's theorized the title is a misspelling of "Blam!", an onomatopoeia for a gun firing, rather appropriate considering the amount of gunplay. This is further supported by another of Tsutomu Nihei's works, a Wolverine miniseries for Marvel Comics, being titled Snikt!
  • In-universe in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Kyoko is shown playing a game called "Dog Drug Reinforcement." It's a Bland-Name Product of DanceDanceRevolution, and doesn't look like it has anything to do with dogs, drugs, or reinforcement.
  • Date A Live: Can be described as Neon Genesis Evangelion meets The World God Only Knows, and is as weird as that sounds. While dating is sometimes involved, it's more likely to get the main character killed than keep him alive. Makes slightly more sense if you follow the Japanese pronunciation, where deitoaraibu is a clear Pun on "dead or alive".
  • Attack on Titan. The title almost makes sense, but grammatically just doesn't connect to the series. There are monsters called titans, and the characters do attack them, but the bizarrely-structured title treats "Titan" like a unique, proper noun, making it sound as though the show is about an assault on the moon Titan rather than an ongoing war with things called "a titan" or "the titan" when mentioned in singular. The Japanese title Shingeki no Kyojin translates to "Advancing Giants" (and later in the series turns out to be the name of Eren's titan form, "The Vanguard Giant") which makes infinitely more sense.
  • Flip Flappers zig-zags on this. It sounds like it has something to do with flappers, and there's a vague connection there to its female protagonist getting dragged out of her comfort zone by a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. But it really refers to "Flip Flap," the organization they work for. Except we are told that "Flip Flap" is completely meaningless—the heroes yell "Flip Flapping" to trigger their Transformation Sequence because it helps them embrace absurdity and become their true selves. So, the in-context explanation for the title is "it's nonsense."
  • Pop Team Epic, naturally. "Pop" probably refers to the pop culture references, but it contains nothing resembling a team or an epic, only a series of surreal postmodern Negative Continuity skits. The Japanese title "Poptepipic" is some sort of reverse-romanization that doesn't mean much of anything. The anime has a Stylistic Suck segment called "Bob Epic Team," which doesn't involve anyone named Bob.
  • The Show Within a Show in Nichijou known as "Helvetica Standard." Helvetica is a typeface, and nothing that happens in this bizarrified version of an already bizarre universe could be considered "standard."
  • From the New World makes some degree of sense as a loose reference to Brave New World, in that both involve a future-dystopia with one civilized society and one uncivilized one, both of which have their own messed-up underpinnings. But it's unclear who or what is coming "from" the new world, or whether the "new world" refers to humans, the monster rats, or both. To make matters both more and less confusing, the title seemingly came from a symphony of the same name by Antonín Dvořák, which predates Brave New World—it's used liberally in the anime, but wasn't in the source novels, for obvious reasons.
  • Gourmet Girl Graffiti does involve cooking and girls, but not graffiti. The English title is somewhat different from the Japanese one, but the latter also contains the word "graffiti" for no apparent reason, and "Koufuku Graffiti" doesn't even alliterate.
  • Planet With. A lot happens in this series, but it never gets around to explaining the title, which literally stops short of making any sense.
  • Room Camp doesn't have much to do with camping or any particular room. The title makes no sense unless you've seen/read Laid-Back Camp, which has bonus comedy segments called "Room Camp" covering the cast's non-camping activities. These later got made into a separate series of anime shorts.
  • Wonder Egg Priority: The plot involves mysterious eggs, and a Title Drop does occur, but beyond that the title is just Gratuitous English. It's really about teen suicide, with a large dose of Magical Realism.
  • The 2019 Lupin III movie, Lupin III: The First is pronounced "Lupin The Third The First".

    Asian Animation 
  • The title of the Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf season Happy, Happy, Bang! Bang! sure isn't the kind of gibberish that ties in with the season's two major story arcs (Wilie going to school and Paddi gaining strange powers).

    Audio Plays 
  • The comedy troupe The Firesign Theatre tends to give their albums weird titles. Some of them (like Don't Crush That Dwarf, Hand Me The Pliers) fit this trope perfectly.

  • Some of the titles of Ross Noble's tours and DVD releases are quite random (reflecting his style) such as Sonic Waffle.

    Comic Books 
  • Tom the Dancing Bug: There are no characters named "Tom", nor are there any dancing bugs. Creator Ruben Bolling says that his strip needed a title to get published, so he wanted the stupidest possible title; he was then inspired by noticing a bug which appeared to be dancing on a ballpoint pen.
  • One of the titles in Marvel Comics' short-lived Razorline imprint was titled Hokum & Hex, which was a bit puzzling since there's no characters Code Named Hokum or Hex. Clive Barker, the creator of the Razorline comics, clarified in an interview with Wizard magazine that the title was meant to be descriptive; the comic was about magic (the "Hex" part) and was campy (the "Hokum" part).

    Fan Works 
  • Kawaii Quest Rainbow Cotton Candy Girls Ready Go, a laughably bad amateur anime that basically spoofs every single Magical Girl anime and fanime ever created. (And that video was just the intro. If you go to the creator's channel you can watch transformations and a commercial for this monstrosity.) Note the lack of cotton candy, rainbows, or any real quest...
  • Fuck The Jesus Beam and many of its chapter titles (for example "CHAPTER RAPE: SEX IS NOT RAPE").
  • The unbelievably disgusting Pokémon fanfic Rectified Anonymity has a title completely non-indicative of its content. It has since come to be called The Pokémon Story; the original name has become something of The Scottish Trope.
  • Many ROM hacks made by Japanese people tend to have this.
  • My Immortal has nothing to do with the Evanescence song, grieving (the subject of the song), or anyone being immortal. Although most of the chapters are titleless, some randomly have song title names which in no way reflect the content of those chapters.
  • Always Having Juice is a Sonic the Hedgehog Alternate Universe Character Blog, and not a single one of the fifteen main characters is ever seen having juice even once. It was named after a song by Dan Deacon, but the song in question is a chiptune with no lyrics and no relation to the blog's actual content.
  • Parodied in Less Bittersweet with the in-universe anime title Sword la Kill Love. Of course, its contents aren't fully revealed, but it's a parody of this trope and the title doesn't even make grammatical sense, so it's not likely to make sense in context.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The title of Salvador Dali's French impressionist film Un Chien Andalou translates as "A Dog from Andalusia" (Andalusia is a region in Spain). The film is said to have been inspired by the non-sequitur nature of dreams as nothing in the film relates to anything else or was intended to appeal to rational analysis. As it was meant to be dream-like in nature, the film has the quality of being a total mind-bendingly weird.
  • Geek Maggot Bingo. That's not even the full title, either. The full title is Geek Maggot Bingo: The Freak From Suckweasel Mountain. Just...what?
  • Reservoir Dogs. Quentin Tarantino has given conflicting explanations for the title. In one, his girlfriend suggested that he watch the French movie, "Au revoir, les enfants" (Goodbye, children), and he misheard "Reservoir Dogs." Another explanation he gave is that the phrase is a slang term for rats, which is how he saw the characters. Of course, for all we know, neither story is true.
  • Straw Dogs was originally called The Siege of Trencher's Farm, a bland and overly descriptive title, so director Peckinpah created an informal contest for a new name. A friend suggested Straw Dogs, referring to the Chinese tradition of creating animal figures out of straw as religious offerings. Straw dogs were given special treatment during religious ceremonies, then discarded with the rest of the trash, mirroring the impartiality of the universe. However, even the producer of the film admitted that the term means nothing in the context of the film. The remake explains the reference in dialogue.
  • Sex Is Zero: A South Korean gross-out/sex comedy roughly equivalent to "American Pie." It has been suggested that they were trying to get at something along the lines of "free love," but you really can't be sure.
  • The Room mostly takes place in a two-floor apartment, but no particular room is given any specific plot importance or thematic weight. A far more appropriate title could be The Building. Writer/Director/Star Tommy Wiseau's rambling, barely coherent explanation is that he had the idea of a room people could relate to that was a place of privacy and safety where they could go to revel or brood. Of course, how this ties to the actual events of the film is still anybody's guess. Greg Sestero, the actor who played Mark claimed that the film was originally written as a play, and all of the action would take place in a single room, which is at least a Word of Saint Paul.
  • 99 and 44/100% Dead: a 1974 crime thriller. The title is a parody of the long-standing slogan of Procter & Gamble's Ivory Soap, which was advertised as "99 & 44/100% pure" and still has that written on the packaging.note  Ivory has been a fairly small brand (well, small for P&G) since the middle of the 20th century, marketed mostly to Americans of modest means. (So that's where Willy Wonka got that combination from!)
  • The Living Daylights (which takes its title from a line James Bond says) was called Death Has the Scent of Roses in Japan, which makes no sense as there are no roses anywhere in the film and no one says anything even remotely approaching that line.
  • The classic Frank Capra romantic comedy It Happened One Night takes place over several nights, and no one of them is more significant to the plot than any other. So what is the "It"?
  • A lot of the newer Bollywood movies borrow their titles from old songs. The title is generally loosely related to the actual movie (for instance a romantic movie might be titled based on a popular romantic song).
  • Band names that follow this trope (see Music, above and below) get spoofed in High Fidelity when the garage band that Barry joins late in the movie calls itself "Sonic Death Monkey". When they go to perform at Rob's release party for the former shoplifters' album, Barry mentions they are no longer called "Sonic Death Monkey", and are on the verge of being called "Kathleen Turner Overdrive". Then they avert it with their current band name:
    Barry: But for tonight, we are "Barry Jive & the Uptown Five".
  • Johnny Sunshine Maximum Violence.
  • Automaton Transfusion. It's about teenagers battling zombies.
  • Nobody knows what the title of the serial killer film 10 to Midnight is supposed to be referring to. It's not even clear what time is being referenced: is it 11:50 PM or the range 10:00 PM-12:00 AM?
  • The sixth Godzilla film has been called several names, but for whatever reason, the studio has settled on Invasion of Astro-Monster as the official international title despite it not making much sense (there's a monster from space but no he's not called "Astro-Monster"). It's very common for viewers to assume it's supposed to be Invasion of the Astro-Monster and the DVD case just has a typo, but that's how the title appears in all official sources. The Japanese title translates to The Great Monster War, the original English version was called Monster Zero (which is a name actually given in the movie) and most VHS copies are labeled Godzilla vs. Monster Zero, all of which are much saner titles.
  • White God: the title has no apparent relation to the plot, which is about a girl's stray dog being abused and leading a prison break from the local pound. It might be a reference to White Dog, another film about an abused dog.
  • It Comes at Night: The title (and a lot of the marketing material) would have you believe that the film features some sort of nocturnal predator. It doesn't. The title seems to have no specific relation to the plot at all.
  • Skinamarink: The title is a nonsense word that originates from a children's sing-a-long rhyme, but at no point is the song referenced in the movie. The only vague connection it has to the song is that the two main characters are small children.

  • Stepwise Pagoda. "Well, we took a dictionary and opened it twice..."
  • Naked Lunch. As Nelson said walking out of the film adaptation, "I can think of at least two things wrong with that title."
  • Angela's Ashes contains a character named Angela, but it's not clear where the ashes come in.
  • The Chrysalids. This one does make a bit of sense if one squints, though. "Chrysalid" is another form of the word "chrysalis," meaning the stage a caterpillar goes into when it changes into another form (i.e., a butterfly). The book deals with mutations, so a slightly less oblique version of the title would be "The Changed Ones." The American edition of the novel was re-titled Re-Birth.
  • The second volume of The Lord of the Rings is called "The Two Towers". Based on events in Book 3, it seems certain that one of the towers is Orthanc. It's less clear what the other one is. Of the four other towers mentioned in the novel, the two most likely candidates are Minas Morgul and Barad-dûr.
    "I am not at all happy about the title 'the Two Towers'. It must if there is any real reference in it to Vol II refer to Orthanc and the Tower of Cirith Ungol. But since there is so much made of the basic opposition of the Dark Tower and Minas Tirith, that seems very misleading." (The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien No 143, dated 1954)
    • It doesn't help that in the movie, Frodo and Sam don't take the pass of Cirith Ungol at all (it's moved to the next movie), so a character explicitly refers to "the union of the two towers" of Sauron and Saruman instead (Orthanc and Barad-dûr).
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice contains no postmen and no doorbells. It is a metaphor for fate. At the time the book was published, the title phrase would have been transparently obvious to the reader. Now that mail carriers don’t come to the door at all, let alone ring the bell—not so much.
  • Dragons: Lexicon Triumvirate. There's dragons, there's a lexicon, and there's sort of a trio of main characters if you turn your head and squint a bit, but the title doesn't really mean much, especially not stuck together like that.
  • Umberto Eco's novel titles like The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum are weird stealth-, meta-versions of this trope. They look like normal titles, and you can see there's a Foucault pendulum in the book named after it and everything. But Eco believed an author should not guide a reader's interpretation even in the book's title, so he picked titles that were supposed to be meaningless.
  • Edward Gorey was fond of these, with many of his stories, poems, and collections having titles that have nothing to do whatsoever with their actual contents. Just as an example, the collection containing The Gashlycrumb Tinies is called The Vinegar Works, something that appears precisely nowhere in it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus was selected from a long list of names produced in a brainstorming session involving the whole group. The "Flying Circus" part was the result of the BBC having to call the forthcoming series *something* for their internal schedule paperwork. BBC management took a cue from the way the Pythons rampaged through Television Centre and titled it "Circus", which ultimately led to the group coming up with "Barry Took's Flying Circus" (Barry Took was the comedy adviser who brought the group to the BBC, and the "Flying Circus" was the nickname of the WWI attack squad lead by Manfred von Richthofen, the original Red Baron) or some similar variation. The group liked the "Flying Circus" part and thought the title should represent a shady con-man-type's attempt at a cheap variety show and cast about for a sleazy-sounding name. John Cleese eventually came up with the last name "Python" and Eric Idle suggested "Monty" (after a patron from a pub he frequented), which also sounded like the typical first name of a small-time theatrical agent.
  • Entirely lampshaded in The Office (US), when lead character Michael Scott (Steve Carell) finally shows his long-awaited dramatic film titled "Threat Level: Midnight."
  • Hello Cheeky didn't give titles to any episodes. When they moved to TV, they gave the episodes intentionally confusing Word Salad Titles instead. ("Quarter-Final Second Leg", "Episode 214", "Unabridged Version" etc.)

  • Brian Eno does this a lot, with both titles and lyrics—the title of his first album, Here Come the Warm Jets, is fairly typical. One of his best examples, however, is a subversion: "The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch" which is not word saladnote  as "the Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch" was an actual black man from Paw Paw, Michigan by the name of A. W. Underwood who was supposedly pyrokinetic. (He was probably just rubbing phosphorous and doing a bit of sleight-of-hand to hide this.)
  • Much of Cake's discography: Motorcade of Generosity, Fashion Nugget, Comfort Eagle, Pressure Chief.
    • Though Prolonging the Magic is full of breakup and torch songs.
  • Most of Owl City's early works.
  • Blind Guardian avoids this in their songs and albums but makes up for that with "Drei Schuesse im Leberknoedel" ("Three Shots in a Liver Dumpling"). It's an epic video about a group of minstrels who, in a desperate attempt to get an evil king to listen to their music, compete against him and his minions in a bean-eating contest, a death-metal-listening contest, a drinking contest, and a sword-fight.
  • Dream Theater (who could count for this trope themselves) often name albums by taking a random phrase from a song in the album that they think sounds good. The exceptions to this are Falling Into Infinity (the phrase never comes up in any song on the album) and Systematic Chaos, which is a variation of the line "Insane random thoughts of neat disorder" from Constant Motion.
    • Perhaps "Falling into Infinity" could symbolize the fact that their careers and personal lives were pretty much in freefall due to Kevin Moore suddenly leaving the band right before the release of their previous album, Mike Portnoy being a raging alcoholic, James LaBrie almost throwing up his own larynx during a bad case of food poisoning, permanently damaging his voice in the process, and the whole band being royally Screwed By the Record Label.
    • The name "Dream Theater" itself came from a closed-down theater in California.
    • Their spin-off band Liquid Tension Experiment also counts, especially considering the songs are all instrumentals.
      • And then came a drumming DVD by Mike Portnoy showcasing several songs from each band, entitled...Liquid Drum Theater. Yeah.
  • Symphonic metal band Nightwish is fond of song titles that read like a bunch of random gothy words were drawn from a hat: "Ghost Love Score," "Bare Grace Misery," "Deep Silent Complete," etc.
    • Compared to English or any other Indio-European language, the band's native Finnish might as well be a Starfish Language.
  • The David Bowie song "Fall Dog Bombs the Moon" from his album Reality is a perfect example of both this and Word Salad Lyrics.
  • Diablo Swing Orchestra does this on pretty much all of their songs. Some examples include "Stratosphere Serenade", "Exit Strategy of a Wrecking Ball", "Poetic Pitbull Revolutions", and "How To Organize a Lynch Mob".
  • Chumbawamba has issued conflicting stories as to the origin of their name. One story is that one of the band members had a dream in which he had to use a public restroom and the restrooms were marked "Chumba" and "Wamba" and he didn't know which one to enter. A slightly less interesting one is that one of the band members sat down at a typewriter (no, not a computer, a typewriter) and closed his eyes and just started typing randomly, and they picked out that relatively pronounceable 11-letter string from among the gibberish. Officially, though, it doesn't mean anything, and they're rather happy it does: many other bands in their genre (anarcho-punk) formed at the time they did (the early 80s) have names that link them to that time and genre (Their official FAQ mentions how lucky the members of Thatcher On Acid were that she was in office for eleven years instead of eighteen months). "Chumbawamba", being nonsense, makes their name at once timeless (making it easier to put out new material that attracts new listeners) and genreless (allowing them to change direction without looking incredibly bizarre—can you imagine if a band called "The Disease" or something like that came out with "Tubthumping"?).
    • Hoobastank has also given conflicting stories for their name's origin, including a gas station in Germany and an old Chinese guy yelling gibberish insults at them.
  • While a lot of band names seem rather arbitrary, bands in the Elephant 6 collective seem to take this to extremes. Neutral Milk Hotel and The Olivia Tremor Control spring to mind; it's been hypothesised that they were formed from reading out the results of a game of Scrabble. Jeff Mangum claims there's a deep, long story behind the name "Neutral Milk Hotel" but he doesn't want to tell anyone due to its personal nature.
    • This got lampshaded in the Elephant 6 art exhibit at the Georgia Museum: the official title for the exhibit was "The ...of Elephant Six," with a random and changing jumble of words in place of the ellipses at the actual exhibit.
  • Wishbone Ash
  • German band called "We Butter the Bread With Butter", which, depending on one's interpretation, might even overlap with Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • The Fucking Champs! Their song titles include such wonders as: These Glyphs Are Dusty, I Am The Album Cover, Atop The Pyramid that is You, I Love The Spirit World And I Love Your Father, Crummy Lovers Die in the Grave, and can't forget Thor Is, Like, Immortal.
  • At least half (if not more) song titles of Guided by Voices, along with various side projects of their frontman Robert Pollard. Examples: "The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory", "Showbiz Opera Walrus", "Some Drilling Implied", "Burning Flag Birthday Suit", "Squirmish Frontal Room", "Man Called Aerodynamics", "14 Cheerleader Coldfront", "Glow Boy Butlers", "Soul Train College Policeman" (this could go on all day)
    • The title of the album Bee Thousand at least sort of has an explanation - Supposedly Robert Pollard passed a theater that was showing Beethoven, but on the marquee the title was misspelled as "Beethouen" note . "Bee-thow-en" stuck in his mind, and then gradually turned into "bee thousand". Another motivation for the title choice was an obtuse Shout-Out - "Bee Thousand" sounds similar to Pete Townsend. And Vampire On Titus is sort of Self-Deprecation - Pollard lived on a street called Titus Avenue, and someone he knew referred to him derogatorily as "the vampire on Titus."
  • The bulk of Florida IDM musician Otto Von Schirach's songs and albums have word salad titles:
    • Album examples:
      • Chopped Zombie Fungus
      • Global Speaker Fisting
      • Maxipad Detention
    • Song Examples:
      • Invincible Meat Boy
      • Fractal Nut Vinigrette
      • Swollen Whale Abdomen
  • Pick a modern Doom Metal band, any modern Doom Metal band. These tend to be high masters of meaningless but superficially deep titles. Some examples:
    • It Took the Night to Believe, by Sunn O))); instrumental.
    • Crooked Axis For String Quartet, by Earth; instrumental, with nothing resembling a string quartet involved.
  • "Deep Blue Something" was the exact response one of the founding members gave when put on the spot to come up with a band name.
  • Many Japanese musicians and artists, when they write an album title in English, can come up with some very weird things, such as Japanese Harsh Noise musician Variations of Sex's "My Cock is Beyond Good And Evil."
  • BT's "Deeper Sunshine", "Flaming June", "Mercury & Solace", "The Meeting of a Hundred Yang", "The Rose of Jericho", etc.
  • White Zombie produced a song called "El Phantasmo and the Chicken Run Blast-O-Rama". No, we have no idea either.
  • Example by Jimi Hendrix: "Spanish Castle Magic" from Axis: Bold As Love. It comes from a club called "Spanish Castle" where Hendrix used to play before he got famous.
  • By Pink Floyd: The album Atom Heart Mother. According to Word of God, it got its name from Ron Geesin pointing to an Evening Standard headline reading "ATOM HEART MOTHER NAMED" (it was about a woman fitted with a nuclear pacemaker or something like that), but otherwise it means nothing.
  • The Fall Of Troy loves these. F.C.P.S.I.T.S.G.E.P.G.E.P.G.E.P. still has no official meaning. (And the fan meaning was shot to pieces with the remake, F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X.) then there's The Hol[ ]y Tape, Cut Down All the Trees and Name the Streets After Them, Straight-Jacket Keelhauled, Semi-Fiction, etc. The titles on Phantom On The Horizon are justified in that the POV character is apparently going insane.
    • "The Hol[ ]y tape" is a reference to House of Leaves, as is "You got a death wish, Johnny Truant?"
  • Some early 16 Horsepower songs titles, like "The Denver Grab" and "Ditch Digger", really have nothing to do with the lyrics.
  • Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
    • Though this could just be NATO speak for YHF. ...Whatever that is. Ypsilanti Heritage Foundation?
    • Presumably a broadcast from a numbers station. Jeff Tweedy has expressed enthusiasm for the Conet Project, a collection of numbers stations recordings, and sampled a piece of the collection on YHF.
  • The Devil Wears Prada tends to name their songs with this combined somewhat with Rule of Cool or Rule of Funny.
  • The production music company Pfeifer Broz. Music is really, really notorious for this trope. Their song names are literally words slapped together. How else can names like Absolute Anthropoid, Hubris Mine, Crown Detonator and Alpha Bag be explained?
  • Shudder To Think's debut album Curses, Spells, Voodoo, Mooses. Vocalist Craig Wedren is somewhat embarrassed about the title, and offers no explanation beyond "I was 17 and it seemed funny at the time". They may have just been going for the Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking effect.
  • Who the hell calls their band Lesbian Bed Death? Moreover, who chooses that name when the original lineup is all male?
  • Also worthy of mention is the death metal band The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza.
  • Captain Beefheart: Trout Mask Replica, Ice Cream for Crow, Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)note  - and that's just album titles.
  • Frank Zappa was also fond of those: Uncle Meat, The Grand Wazoo, Waka/Jawaka, Bongo Fury, Thing-Fish, Zoot Allures, Studio Tan,...
  • Most of Versailles's song and album titles make relative sense. "DRY ICE SCREAM!! [Remove Silence]" is just incomprehensible gibberish.
  • Toad the Wet Sprocket took their name from a Monty Python sketch on Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album in which a newscaster mentions a band called Toad the Wet Sprocket. Eric Idle said that he deliberately tried to think of a name no one could ever possibly use. When he happened to hear Toad the Wet Sprocket's single announced on the radio, he said he nearly drove off the road.
  • Experimental musician Matthew Villani is quite fond of this trope. Song titles include "Here's The Waw Voice", "Off The High Dirve, Into The Empty Pool", "Loudness Capacity Test", "The Drunk Elephant's Night On The Sea", "The Fiery Lava Rains Down On The Dead Land", and "Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!". It seems that if his songs aren't this, they're given number series titles like "Experimental Midi #7", "Project Song #1", "Composite Song #2", or "Fantasy Music #3".
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Both the band name itself (taken from an old Japanese documentary about a biker gang) and some of their album titles: All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling, Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada.
  • System of a Down's name comes from a poem that one of them wrote called "Victims of the Down" (which makes about as much sense).
  • Japanese Noise Rock band Melt-Banana is...well, they're called Melt-Banana, for starters. Their album Cell-Scape includes some impressively long word salad examples in its song titles, such as "Shield for Your Eyes, a Beast in the Well on Your Hand" and "A Hunter in the Rain to Cut the Neck Up in the Present Stage".
  • Rocket Juice & The Moon, a Supergroup featuring Damon Albarn, Flea and Tony Allen. Even the band themselves don't know what, if anything, their own name means, as they didn't pick it - They finished their debut album without having come up with a band name and opted to let the person who designed their album artwork put whatever name he liked on the cover.
  • An instrumental track on one of Steppenwolf's albums was called "Hodge, Podge, Strained Through a Leslie." At least part of the title makes sense in context though - the song prominently features a Hammond organ played through a Leslie speaker.
  • Altar of Plagues' third album, Teethed Glory and Injury, is both an example of this trope and contains several more: "Twelve was Ruin", "Reflection Pulse Remains", "Scald Scar of Water" and "Found, Oval and Final" in particular.
  • Early in their recording career, Minus The Bear were very fond of using strange, Non Appearing Titles for their songs, such as "Monkey!!! Knife!!! Fight!!!" and "I'm Totally Not Down With Rob's Alien" - they broke with this tradition starting with the 2005 album Minus El Oso though.
    • While the titles still have nothing to do with the content, a trio of instrumentals with the word "bug" in their titles are all direct quotes from Starship Troopers, where the protagonists refer to the aliens they're fighting as "bugs": "You Kill Bugs Good, Man", "Damn Bugs Whacked Him, Johnny", and " You're Some Sort of Big, Fat, Smart Bug, Aren't You?".
  • 65daysofstatic has several songs and albums that are little more than jumbles of words strung together (including their band name, incidentally enough). We Were Exploding Anyway, Another Code Against The Done, "I Swallowed Hard, Like I Understood", "Install a Beak in the Heart that Clucks Time in Arabic", and "Radio Protector" are good examples.
  • Man Man has a lot of these, especially in their earlier albums, like "Banana Ghost", "Ice Dogs", and "Harpoon Fever (Queequeg's Playhouse)" to name a few.
  • Stereolab: Some of their titles look like this, but are actually Line of Sight Names from instruments or recording technology, or are just very obscure Shout Outs. But there's also titles like "Italian Shoe Continuum", "Hillbilly Motobike", "Fractal Dream Of A Thing", "Three Longers Later", "Black Ants In Sound-Dust", "Slow Fast Hazel"...and so on...
  • Let's Active named themselves after Gratuitous English text on a t-shirt - the t-shirt slogan in question was probably intended to be "let's go!".
  • Bob Dylan: One song is titled Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (yes, the hashmark is part of the title!). This is the song with the refrain "Everybody Must Get Stoned."
  • Favorite Atomic Hero claim their name was the result of "a rather involved drinking game" - they were originally billed as Static, until the name was deemed to be too close to Static X.
  • Wet Leg - they got their name from a game members were playing revolving around trying to make band names out of randomly chosen emoji combinations, where at one point they got the pairing "💧 🦵". There's no meaning beyond that, though they have said having such a silly name helps them not take themselves too seriously.
  • Foxy Shazam used to claim that, when vocalist Eric Nally was attending high school, his fellow students had taken to referring to stylish shoes as "foxy shazams" - they later admitted that they had made this up in an early interview because it was a better story than the truth, which was that they'd just thrown two cool-sounding words together. There's also their debut album The Flamingo Trigger.


  • Nitro Game Injection. How the hell does one inject nitro into games?
  • House to Astonish: It kind of conveys "this is a podcast about comics" in that it sounds almost like it could be a comic book title (it actually comes from a proposed title for an Amalgam Universe book that would have combined Tales to Astonish and House of Mystery). Al used to make an attempt to portray the House as an actual location, but it never really worked.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Quite a few wrestling moves come off like this if you're unfamiliar with them. What's a "Northern Lights Suplex," for instance? Or a "Death Valley Driver"? Or a "Whisper in the Wind"? Or a "Shooting Star Press"?
  • The STO is a fairly common move but commentators always use the acronym instead of the full name: "Space Tornado Ogawa".
  • Several Japanese promotions, possibly due to poor understanding of English: Dramatic Dream Team, Wrestle and Romance (which became Wrestle Association R), and Big Mouth LOUD.
  • TNA renamed 'The James Gang' the 'Voodoo Kin Mafia' so they could do an angle attacking WWE owner Vince Kennedy McMahon (VKM). The fact that the group had nothing to do with voodoo or the mafia and only marginally involved kinship didn't seem to matter. Later, "Voodoo Queen" Roxxi LaVeau was introduced as their valet in a vain attempt to justify the name; this didn't help as much as they thought it did.

  • There was an English sketch comedy show entitled The Long Hot Satsuma. It lampshaded this trope by explaining, at the start of some episodes, that it was actually a cool, short, non-citrus-fruit of a program.
  • Parodied on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. The regular round "One Song to the Tune of Another" is as self-explanatory as you can get, and yet the chairman acts as if the title is a word salad, and every time the game is played he introduces it with a highly elaborate metaphor.
    Humphrey Lyttelton: Now I can see from their look of puzzlement that the teams are anxious to know what in blue blazes this could be all about. Well, it's actually not nearly as complicated as it sounds, teams. You might like to think of your tune as a house, and the words as the interior decor, which of course can be changed - a sort of musical version of Changing Rooms, if you will. That's where two couples swap houses and redecorate them in the style of a Dutch brothel or Bombay public toilet. Now, I know what you're thinking, teams: "Thank goodness that's all sorted out, except he's forgotten to explain where Handy Andy comes into this." Well, we don't need a Handy Andy banging away on his own in the background, trying to destroy a perfectly good piece of furniture...not when we have Colin Sell at the piano...
    • By contrast, the game of "Cheddar Gorge" (which involves the teams making a sentence by saying one word at a time, with the object being not to complete the sentence) is treated as if its title is perfectly self-explanatory and clearly outlines the rules.

  • "La Cantatrice Chauve" (The Bald Soprano) lampshades this trope. The title bears no relationship to the content of the play, and the one time somebody quotes the title, it almost sounds as though he's inquiring about the name of the play he's in.
  • In the play Say Goodnight, Gracie by Ralph Pape (not the One Man Show with the same name about George Burns) Gracie Allen's name only comes up once, and nobody says goodnight.
  • Twelfth Night was written to be performed as part of a Twelfth Night celebration that was part of the Christmas holiday at the time. Note that the full title is Twelfth Night, or What You Will. In other words, call it whatever you like.
  • Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark offers no explanation for the subtitle.

    Video Games 
  • As far as we can tell, the title of Fate/stay night is complete nonsense.
  • Among the Sleep never offers a direct explanation for it's title, but considering how you play as a straight up two-year-old progressing through a world of surreal Psychological Horror, it may be intended to evoke a developing mind still learning how to string their words together.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation is justifiable, but when the anime based on the game is called Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Divine Wars? That gets to the point where the point of a long title becomes moot, as using the whole name will get you all of nothing, and putting in only parts of the title gets you googleplexed. (Don't even think of trying to search for SRWOGDW.) This is made worse by the fact that there is very little agreement between fans on where the spaces/colon(s) should go, not to mention the whole Super Robot Wars/Super Robot Taisen issue. Variations SRWOGDW, SRW:OGDW, SRW:OG:DW, SRWOG:DW, and SRW:OG DW, and a plethora of others, are seen.
    • It's not the only long name in the series. How about Super Robot Wars Gaiden: Masoukishin: The Lord of Elemental?
  • Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix. Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo even more so, as there is no Puzzle Fighter I.
  • No More Heroes features a Show Within A Game Magical Girl anime titled Pure White Lovers Bizarre Jelly. Parts of it might make sense, given that it's explicitly a moe series and the girls are named after berries, but the rest is word salad. Ironically, the similarly named Pure White Giant Glastonbury makes almost perfect sense, being about a white Humongous Mecha named Glastonbury.
    • The title for Speed Buster's theme, Mach 13 Elephant Explosion, also qualifies.
  • The play that Luigi takes part in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door is called "The Mystery of the Fiery Hat of Social Awareness".
  • Alpha Black Zero: Intrepid Protocol fits this trope like a glove.
  • Hoyle Casino Games 2009 is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, until you get to the slot machine called Alien Disco Safari. There are aliens and disco, but no safari in sight.
  • The original name of Eternal Sonata is Trusty Bell: Chopin's Dream. The "Chopin's Dream" part makes plenty of sense, but what's a "trusty bell" and what does it have to do with anything?
    • The PS3 port added the word "Reprise," which fit the context but just made the name more salad-y.
  • Tales of Symphonia has nothing to do with music or anything called Symphonia.
    • The word symphony, depending on the context, can imply harmony. And given that a major part of your quest is resolved with the harmonious merger of two worlds it makes some sense. It's been confirmed that the reunified world is called Symphonia before its name is changed to Aseria.
    • The same applies to Tales of Phantasia, there isn't anything called like that in the whole game. Later titles in the series avert this trope by using concepts important to the plot (Destiny, Rebirth, Innocence).
  • Tetris Friends forces players to do this to name their Arena rooms. Room names are of the format <adjective> <adjective or noun adjunct> <noun>, with a separate list of words to choose from for each, as well as a button to randomize all three. (On the off chance more than room has the same set of 3 words, a number is appended to the end, without a space.) This tends to result in very silly names, such as "Drab Tomato Uprising" and "Cryptic Purple Hunters2". Very rarely does a room name actually make any logical sense.
  • Word-salad titles are a Signature Style of video game composer Stephen Rippy, who's provided the soundtracks for games like Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, and Halo Wars. A few examples include Shamburger; Six Armed Robbing Suit; Last Name Crane, Ichabod; Pudding Pie; and Eat Your Potatoes.
  • Retieval Mankind's Batman is the name of one of the PopStation handhelds. Good luck making any sense of this one.
  • Hotdog Storm, a 1996 arcade Shoot 'Em Up whose title continues to confound gamers two decades later. The only thing within the game even approaching an explanation of the title is the image of the squadron's badge on the title screen, which features a prominent illustration of a hot dog.
  • Analogue: A Hate Story was titled as such only to parallel Christine Love's previous visual novel, Digital: A Love Story.
  • The EarthBound Reshuffler is a hacking utility that randomly changes around various things in EarthBound (1994). Appropriately, each hack is given a subtitle comprised of two literally random words: Examples include Earthbound: Taco Puppy and Earthbound: Mug Friend.
  • The original Japanese title of the 8-bit era side-scroller The Astyanax was "The Lord of King."
  • Half-Minute Hero's Updated Re-release on Xbox 360 gained the subtitle Super Mega Neo Climax. The PC release took this further with Super Mega Neo Climax Ultimate Boy. It might have to do with said release being officially described as the "ultimate version" of the game.
  • Infinite Undiscovery. When one faux-profound word-concoction isn't enough, why not make it infinite?
  • The SHPDMBGWL4:PISSI&SOTA64DS (Super Hyper Paper Deluxe Mario Bros. Galaxy World Land 4: Partners in Sunshine SuperStar Island & Saga of Time Advance 64 DS) fangame series is this taken to ridiculous, blatantly parodic extremes. The later games include:
    • Super Hyper Paper Deluxe Mario Bros. Galaxy World Land 4: Partners in Sunshine SuperStar Island & Saga of Time Advance 64 DS 2: Mario's X-Cellent Mango Adventure through Sea-Bass World and Beyond
    • Super Hyper Paper Deluxe Mario Bros. Galaxy World Land 4: Partners in Sunshine SuperStar Island & Saga of Time Advance 64 DS 3: One step beyond Mario's X-Cellent Mango Adventure through Sea-Bass World and Beyond: A Ducktale of Epic Proportions against an Evil Space Korean Government
  • When Hello Games were trying to determine what they'd name their upcoming Science-Fiction game, one developer suggested a name that had a nice, sci-fi novel style to it: No Man's Sky. The developers have no intention of No Man's Sky meaning anything; the phrase's similarity with "no man's land," transplanting the concept of a stretch of unexplored and unclaimed wilderness into a sci-fi setting, was an added bonus.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! Nightmare Troubadour's title is famous for making no sense. A troubadour is a writer and performer of songs or poetry in the Middle Ages. What this has to do with Duel Monsters is anyone's guess.
  • The two Senran Kagura games for PlayStation systems are titled Shinovi Versus and Estival Versus. These almost make sense to the plots - the first is based on a free-for-all between Shinobi teams, and the second around a Festival. And that's not due to a "Blind Idiot" Translation, either; the games have a competent and consistent sub. It turns out these are the closest way possible of communicating something in the Japanese title, "Senran" is similarly misspelled (technically, it's two kanji that make perfect sense in context, but form a gibberish word when compounded). Ironically, Shinovi Versus's Japanese subtitle, Proof of Life, makes complete sense in both languages.
    • "Estival" is also an archaic word roughly meaning "summery," which fits the setting like a glove.
  • The Super Mario World ROM hacking supplementary tool "Gopher Popcorn Stew." It was named that because, during its creation, the discussion of possible names involved a suggestion to just name it something ridiculous and random (for want of anything better), and the name stuck.
  • The DOOM random WAD generator, Space Llama Interment Gazelle Expert — or SLIGE, for short.note 
  • Non-story missions in XCOM: Enemy Unknown have names randomly generated from two separate lists. While some can make sense, others won't: Operation Burning Mother, Operation Vengeful Pipe, Operation Vengeful Vengeance, etc; one of the community's favorite things to do is share humorous instances of the RNG accidentally spitting out something coherent, or that turns out to be a rather apt description of something that happens in the following mission.
  • What exactly does the name Borderlands refer to? The location is the alien planet of Pandora, but as it's a desolate wasteland there aren't any clear "borders" of anything anywhere. Is Pandora at the "border" of human discovery? Maybe, but the series never references any other known planets (not even Earth) And the exact location of Pandora is never revealed.
  • There are a couple of stages in The Battle Cats where in their names make no sense whatsoever. Examples include “Revolving-Door Floats”, “Gestalt, Decay”, “Chupacabra Love” and “Blockchain Twilight”
  • Bet On Soldier is already a pretty odd title to parse for English ears, but its final expansion pack upgrades it to full word salad status with the name Bet-On Soldier: Black Out Saigon.
  • Steins;Gate is name-dropped constantly by protagonist Okabe Rintarou. (In-game, it's just "Steins Gate", the semi-colon is a quirk of the series.) It's probably fate or something. Pretty nicely summed up by an exchange in the true ending:
    Beta!Suzuha: There lies a worldline unaffected by any attractor field. A worldline knows as Steins Gate.
    Okabe: But that's the chunni name I pulled out of my ass! It doesn't even mean anything!
  • Gravity Bone is a short and surreal secret-agent story, having nothing to do with gravity or bones. The creator is apparently fond of this naming scheme, having also produced the similar Thirty Flights of Loving, and the less-similar Quadrilateral Cowboy (a "twentieth-century cyberpunk" game involving hacking with now-outdated technology).
  • Risk of Rain is about a game where you play as a survivor of a space shipwreck and battle through a planet with Everything Trying to Kill You, hop between regions via teleporters, and make your way back to the ship to escape the planet. Nowhere in the game is there any rain. And no, it's not the name of the ship, either. Word of God says the game was named that just to make it easily searchable on the internet.
  • Brain Dead 13 is a spoof of old-style horror/sci-fi movies and, as such, has a title that sounds creepy but has little to do with the actual content (though the Big Bad is a Brain in a Jar).
  • Ace Combat: Assault Horizon. "Assault Horizon" is likely a pun on the word "Event Horizon", the part of black holes that once crossed no object can escape from. However there's nothing story wise to alluding to this other than fighter jets launching assaults.
  • Narbacular Drop, the spiritual predecessor to Portal, had its name chosen because it would be easy to find in online search engines.
  • Being a Nintendo crossover Fighting Game, Super Smash Bros. doesn’t seem to have much meaning behind the title. It seems to be a play on Super Mario Bros., just with the word “Smash” thrown in. It has nothing to do with brothers.
  • There was a now defunct MMORPG called Yogurting. Your guess is as good as ours as to what the hell "Yogurting" is supposed to mean.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner:
    • Homestar Runner means nothing to someone who isn't familiar with the cartoons, but it's the name of the supposed main character. It originated when the brothers' friend (James Huggins of Of Montreal) imitated an old-timey baseball announcer and referred to a player as "the home star runner." The brothers found the garbled phrase hysterical.
    • The trope is parodied when Strong Bad names his "crazy cartoon" Sweet Cuppin' Cakes, because "Crazy cartoons usually have titles that have nothing to do with the cartoon itself." The one full episode of said crazy cartoon seen (a Christmas Episode) is titled "Cactus Coffee and the No-Tell Motel."
  • YouTube Poop. This is lampshaded in one poop where Linguini wonders why they call it that. It could refer to such videos allegedly being the bottom of YouTube's video barrel, but considering that some of them are comedy gold, this interpretation may or may not fit very well.

  • All Over The House - what is? The name is completely random.
  • Antihero for Hire has a villain whose name is like this, in the form of a character called Baron Diamond who's actually named Baron Orange Earthsmantle Von Potatoflight. This is mostly so that Shadehawk can mock it.
  • Awkward Zombie has very little to do with zombies, although there are a few times that there has been a Title Drop in the form of a Stealth Pun.
  • Bloody Urban takes place in an urban environment and is occasionally Bloody Hilarious but other than that the title has little to do with the comic.
  • Bug Martini. Originally just called "Bug," because the humanoid characters have insect-like antennae. It has no particular association with martinis.
  • Buttercup Festival is not about a festival which celebrates buttercups. It's a disconnected series of obtuse and/or philosophical comics, starring a cheerful and nameless little Grim Reaper who never does any reaping.
  • Buttersafe has nothing to do with butter or safety, and the name sounds like a kitchen appliance from a bizarre alternate universe. The many one-shots are mostly Dada Comics, though, so in that sense the name is appropriate.
  • The Dawn Chapel was originally the name of an unrelated project that the author never got around to starting. When the author began the webcomic they had already registered the domain, so they decided to use that as the title instead of coming up with a new name and registering another domain.
  • Dresden Codak. Being primarily a Widget Series, this actually makes a bit of sense, such as it is.
    • Less so, given the comic's recent Cerebus Syndrome. One possible meaning is that it refers to the Allied firebombing of Dresden in WWII, widely considered one of the greatest What the Hell, Hero? moments in history, likening it to the morally questionable actions of the main character in her attempts to bring about The Singularity.
    • Another theory is that it's named for the Dresden Codex. The frequent Mesoamerican motifs make this rather plausible, though the codex itself has yet to appear.
    • A minor character wore a nametag reading "T.UD", which some fans consider a reference to the codex's location in Dresden.
    • Dresden Codak is actually the nickname of the comic's author, Aaron Diaz. The title is best thought of as "Comics By Dresden Codak." Sure, the problem is now explaining a Word Salad Name, but Diaz said that it's just the name of the Dresden Codex plus Rule of Cool. It also avoids using his real name, which he was concerned would cause confusion with a certain Latin-American pop star.
  • El Goonish Shive is named for its author, Dan Shive, but otherwise has nothing to do with the comic. He even gives it a Lampshade Hanging or two. He does explain the rationale here.
  • Both played straight and subverted with Fruit Incest. Initially, the title had nothing whatsoever to do with the comic and was simply meant to be an eye catcher, and then the fruit people showed up. Also ironic since the comic itself is usually squeaky clean.
  • The supporting cast of Goats does intermittently include a goat; Jon Rosenberg explains: We had already named the strip Goats, so I felt the need to justify the name. Toothgnip was introduced [in the third strip]. (Thor's chariot is drawn by goats named Toothgnasher and Toothgrinder; Toothgnip is the spare.)
  • Junior Scientist Power Hour has nothing to do with any of those words. Most of the comics are mildly surreal portrayals of the author's everyday life. She was an undergrad student of biology when the comic started, but the plot of the comics generally has nothing to do with this, making it an Artifact Title at best.
  • Lackadaisy refers partly to the protagonist's attitude and partly to the name of the speakeasy where he works.
  • Lightning Made of Owls, natch. The title's not about anything. Also, Square Root of Minus Garfield—it does involve Garfield, but the "square root of minus" part makes very little sense. It's essentially Garfield Minus Garfield combined with the mathematical concept of the imaginary number "i," defined as the square root of negative one, but what the hell does that mean? Maybe the "i" stands for Interactive Comic? One comic "explains" the title as "will eat or make a 2D cross-section which, when multiplied by itself, is the opposite of a lasagna."
  • Mountain Time has nothing to do with Mountains or the Mountain time zone (though a handful of mountains do appear as scenery (and sometimes bit characters)). More notably, almost every comic on the site has a completely inane title, such as "Witchcraft for Skiers", "Cheesecake Bang Bang Chicken Avocado Woo Key Lime Pie", "Puddle Inaccuracies" and "Not a Gila Monster"—though, to be fair, it isn't a Gila Monster.
  • Octopus Pie is a story about two women in Brooklyn and their relationships therein, and does not contain an octopus.
  • Penny Arcade. Throughout the whole series, there are very, very few references to pennies or an arcade. Gabe and Tycho are fans mostly of console games (and the occasional MMORPG).
    • However, it could be explained in context as a reference to coin-operated "games" (certainly not video games) that were popular in the early 20th century. The cost of the games was in pennies, and the localities where they were placed were called "arcades" (and were the precursor of later Video Arcades). The other wiki has a short history of the name.
  • The Perry Bible Fellowship has nothing to do with Christianity (or anyone/anything named Perry, for that matter). On the site's FAQ page, the author states that the title was chosen to be ironic.
  • xkcd is not an acronym for some little-known computer protocol, it is merely a nerdy webcomic. That doesn't stop it from making several comics about what XKCD is or suggesting weird backronyms such as "eXcellence Kriegsmarine College of Demolitions" and "Xtreme Kansas College of Dentistry." See also Word Purée Title...
    • Word of God has it that Randall before he even thought of a webcomic, wanted to come up with a short string he could search that could only link to something to do with him (or to mojibake). This is still's just that a lot more sites have something to do with him now.
    • In one of his books, he says that xkcd were random letters he chose for a domain name he had bought long before and kept for no particular reason.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • An in-universe example from Regular Show: "Planet Chasers: Starlight Excellent" (or Planet Starlight Chasers: Excellent) is an anime series that- quite literally- renders the viewer mindless.
  • Frisky Dingo. The title is entirely meaningless, although the writers eventually handwaved an explanation into the series. Note, originally the writers wanted to call the series "Whiskey Tango" but ran into legal problems as there was a band by that name. In frustration, they "jokingly" said they may as well call it "Frisky Dingo." The phrase does end up coming into play in the last episode of season 1. It's the password to control the Anihilatrix. It's also lampshaded later when someone mentions this, another person asks what it means.
    • Just for the record, "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" is a military aviation term. It means "Could you repeat that? I don't believe what I think I heard you just say." or more literally "What the Fuck, Over?"
      • "Whiskey Tango", minus the foxtrot, also means "white trash" in military slang.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force. To quote from the Wikipedia entry: "The title of the show is largely a misnomer: the characters have no major affiliation with water aside from frequent occurrences involving their neighbor's pool. They are not teenagers per se and have somewhat frequently issued conflicting statements regarding their ages. They are food (hence the reference to hunger), but rarely, if ever actually do anything about hunger, and are rarely shown acting as any kind of a force." The Movie sorta gives an origin to the phrase, but this is long after the show began; and like everything else, the canon erodes quickly into madness.
    • The title made more sense for the early version of the characters that appear in the Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Baffler Meal", where they were mascots for a fast-food chain called Burger Trench who sought to make teens hungry for Burger Trench. The "Aqua" part still didn't make any sense though.
      • Likely the "Trench" part, since the trenches are the deepest part of the ocean. Also, in the early episodes of ATHF, they are a detective team which refers to themselves as "The Aqua Teen Hunger Force".
      • The detective team story was a throw-away premise to get the show produced, since "a group of anthropomorphic food items fight crime" sounds like more of a show than "a group of anthropomorphic food items do a bunch of random things for 15 minutes." The title might have simply been part of that.
      • The Live Action episode, "Last Last One Forever and Ever" (which reveals that the show is essentially a script written by a struggling writer...or maybe not, this is an [adult swim] show we're discussing here.), has the gang moving out of their house. As they pull away, Carl sends them off by uttering "Truly, they were an Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Of course, even with the title now spoken in the show itself, there's still no clear meaning behind it.
    • The show's title has officially changed three, first to "Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1", later to "Aqua Something You Know Whatever", and then to "Aqua TV Show Show".
  • Robot Chicken. The title is only referenced in the opening sequence; the show appears to be the hallucinations of a chicken going insane from being forced to watch too much TV, with all the shows starting to blur together. The chicken's presence is hardly the point, however; indeed, the actual content of the show is generally restricted to non-stop silliness with action figures and masturbation jokes. The name Robot Chicken was chosen mainly due to the barmy image it projects; similarly to Monty Python (above) most of the other episodes are given similarly random titles that were originally considered for the show as a whole, then rejected ("1987", "Federated Resources", "A Kick In The Nuts", etc.). It's been explained that the name of the show came from when Seth Green and Matt Senreich saw the name on a Chinese restaurant menu.
  • Elephant's Dream is about neither elephants nor dreams. The working title for the short film was Machina, which suits it much better.
  • Family Guy started out with deliberately irrelevant film noir thriller-ish episode titles (like "I Never Met the Dead Man" and "Mind Over Murder") before abandoning them because no-one in the crew could keep them straight.
  • Early Merrie Melodies were named after a song used in the cartoon. For example, Porky Pig's first short was called "I Haven't Got a Hat," after the song of the same name - but the plot was a bunch of kids putting on a pageant at school.
  • King of the Hill has absolutely nothing to do with the children's game it was named after. It's just a reference to the main character's last name, and he's not even a "king" in any sense. It is, however, appropriate in the idiomatic sense of the term. At least compared to his dysfunctional neighbors, Hank is the big fish in a small pond, and he is the patriarch of the Hill family.
  • The [adult swim] show Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio. According to Brad Neely himself the title is "intentionally meaningless"; it's just arrangment of the staff's "favorite collection of syllables".
  • This is just one of the many criticisms that people have with High Guardian Spice; The characters attend a Wizarding School where they train to become guardians, even though they don’t “guard” anything. The characters are not named after spices, but instead, are named after herbs.
  • Winx Club: In the show, winx has no meaning—Bloom just made it up. (The 4Kids dub changed it to the term for fairy magic.) Apparently, though, it's derived from the English word "wings."

    Real Life 
  • The name of the website Slashdot was chosen to make its address as confusing as possible when spoken: h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-slash-dot-dot-org. Not that anyone speaks the "http://" part aloud anymore.
  • In Austria, someone managed to register the domain It became really weird, when the user account "dot" got email (try enunciating You might call it do-tat-dot-a-t though.
  • The name of the 1910s-1920s cultural movement Dada was allegedly chosen randomly from a dictionary. "Dada" means "hobby horse" in French, "Yes, yes" in Romanian and Russian, "Daddy" in some dialects of English and some other languages, and "nanny" in Hungarian, but also sounds like gibberish, which fits when you consider what Dada was.
  • Dada artist Marcel Duchamp created a sculpture titled "The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even". Though the piece does depict what appears to be a bride and her bachelors, any resemblance to the title ends there.
  • This trope is partly responsible for the phenomenon known as Recursive Acronym.
  • There is a freeware file extractor called "Free RAR Extract Frog". Yes, you read that right, Free RAR Extract Frog. There is a picture of a frog on the interface, but beyond that, no frogs.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Products often try to skirt around trademark law by changing a word into something that sounds similar or trying to use synonyms. This is how products and brands like the Nintendo Poly Station (PlayStation knockoff and not affiliated with Nintendo in any way), Arm and Hatchet (Arm & Hammer), Michael Alone (McDonald's), and Cavern Kernel (Calvin Klein) manage to exist.
    • Similarly, sometimes a business that used to be part of a chain will lose their license but keep operating under a slightly different name, leading to things like a former Baskin-Robbins continuing to serve ice cream and yogurt under the name of "Basket Rabbit".
  • When they aren't blatantly descriptive, candy varieties often get their names from completely arbitrary sources. Snickers, Mars Bar, Baby Ruth, Milky Way. Others less familiar to Americans include Prince Polo, Lion Peanut, Oh Henry!, and Violet Crumble. Showing some awareness of this nonsense, one is literally named "Whatchamacallit." All those are variants on "rectangular lump of candy covered in a layer of chocolate."
    • The creators of the Baby Ruth candy bar actually claimed that it was named after Grover Cleveland's daughter, Ruth. This is dubious, seeing as how Ruth Cleveland died in 1904 and the candy bar wasn't named until 1921, the same time that Babe Ruth was becoming famous. It's almost universally believed that the Ruth Cleveland story was just to use what was almost Babe Ruth's name without paying him royalties.
  • In the mid-2000s, Newsweek had a short column about a computer algorithm designed to predict whether books would sell well based on their titles. The most-successful title, according to the algorithm, would be the nonsensical “Killing Naked Roses”.

Alternative Title(s): Super Punk Octo Pudding Gas Mark Seven, Super Punk Octo Pudding Mark Seven