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Only Known By Their Nickname / Live-Action TV

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People who are Only Known by Their Nickname in live-action TV.

  • In one episode of Seven Days, Frank runs into a former associate who's referred to only by nickname (can't remember what it is, Bear or something to that effect). At one point when Olga refers to him by his first name, Frank responds by saying that even the character's mother calls him by his nickname.
  • Crispo in 100 Things to Do Before High School. His name is an acronym of his first and last names, Christian Powers.
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  • Adam-12 has Sgt. "Mac" Macdonald, the guys' superior.
  • Skye from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. initially doesn't even know her real name, since she was left at an orphanage when she was very young. She does eventually mention that the orphanage gave her the name Mary Sue Potts, but she hates it and insists that Skye is her name. Slowly subverted over the course of the second season, where she learns that her birth name is Daisy Johnson and chooses to go by that instead.
  • ALF's real name is Gordon Shumway. Not that anyone on Earth calls him that.
  • Animal Kingdom: Four of the six family members are Smurf (Janine), Pope (Andrew), Baz (Barry), and J (Joshua).
  • On Arrested Development:
    • George Oscar Bluth II is exclusively called "GOB" (pronounced like Job in the Bible) to differentiate him from his father George Sr.
    • GOB's youngest brother, whose given name is Byron, is exclusively called "Buster".
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    • Their niece Mae is referred to by everyone as "Maeby".
    • None of them are ever called by their full, real names - all three names appear briefly on screen in each character's introductory scene in the pilot, but have never even been spoken aloud on the show, an impressive feat of taking this trope to its logical conclusion.
    • Most viewers probably forget that the latter two are nicknames, to the point that in season 4 when Michael finds a note from "George" his mother reminds him (and therefore the audience) that this is Gob's real name.
  • The A-Team:
    • We have Templeton "Faceman" Peck, and John "Hannibal" Smith (interesting in that he almost always introduces himself as "Hannibal Smith", as if it's his actual name).
    • Also, "Howlin' Mad" Murdock. The team referred to him Howlin' Mad pretty consistently in the very first episode, but quickly switched to calling him Murdock for the rest of the series.
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  • Almost no one in Badger ever calls Wilf by her actual given name, which is Catherine.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003)
    • Most of the pilots (basically all who are not part of the main cast) are only mentioned by their call signs.
    • Anastasia "Dee" Dualla's first name is only revealed in a short caption when she gives an interview in the episode "Final Cut".
    • Callandra "Cally" Henderson Tyrol's full name is only revealed during her funeral service in season four.
  • Detective Constable Alfred "Tosh" Lines in The Bill. After his first two or three episodes, nearly everybody just refered to him as "Tosh".
  • Benchin Kitchen's Yehezkel "The Spice Agent" Mizrahi, only because no-one knows how to pronounce his actual name.
  • In Bonanza Ben Cartwright's second oldest son Hoss' real name is Eric, this is mentioned on a few occasions and he only goes by his real name during formal events.
  • In the 1988 TV miniseries version of The Bourne Identity, the bespectacled leader of the Swiss assassins is simply called "Gold Glasses".
  • Boy Meets World:
    • Cory. Apart from his parents, nobody - not even his wife - knows his real name is Cornelius.
    • Also, the recurring tough-guy character named Harley is revealed in one episode to be really named Harvey.
  • The Boys (2019): Mother's Milk is always called that except once when his wife calls him Melvin.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
      • Oz's full name, Daniel Osbourne, is only mentioned once in the entire series, after he has left town.
      • Angel's name was Liam before he became a vampire; he went by Angelus ("The one with the angelic face") from then on. After he regained his soul he became Angel.
      • Xander's short for Alexander. In one episode everyone gets Laser-Guided Amnesia and, having only his driver's license to go on, he temporarily becomes "Alex".
      • Adam, who is made up of human and demon parts stitched together. In one episode Buffy sees his human self in a psychic dream; she asks him what his name is, and dream!Adam replies that no one on Earth remembers.
      • Spike's name is William. "William the Bloody" is one of his old nicknames, but other than that it's hardly mentioned.
      • Violet is only known as Vi, in the TV series. In the comics they made her full name Violet and had her go by that, because comics are written in all caps and they didn't want readers thinking her name was "6".
      • "Anne" is a young woman who has drifted between different cults or similar groups over her life and keeps changing her name. We never learn what she was called originally (though according to an original draft of a script, it was supposed to be Joan).
      • Averted in the case of Buffy herself, though; "Buffy" is a common nickname for "Elizabeth", but it's actually Buffy Anne Summers' given name.
    • Angel:
      • Fred, short for Winifred.
      • Justified for Lorne: "Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan" isn't a very appealing name for a nightclub owner. Previously they called him "The Host," so he has two layers of nicknames.
      • Angel. He is almost never called Liam. Lilah once called it a "wussy name".
  • Seymour of Burn Notice has a henchman whom he only ever refers to as "Jackass".
  • Coach in Cheers. Somewhat parodied when Coach answers the phone, and when the person on the other end asks for Ernie Pantusso, he asks where that person is. Sam Malone says "That's you, Coach," at which point Coach gets back on the phone and says "Speaking!" While he got his nickname for the obvious reason (he was Sam's coach during his baseball days), he always believed he got it because he never flew first class.
  • We still don't know the full real name of Sarah Walker from Chuck. In one episode she admitted her first name was Sam, and in another episode that her middle name was Lisa, but her true surname was never revealed. Even after her marriage to Chuck, he still called her Sarah Walker.
  • On Coach there's Michael "Dauber" Daubinsky. If you refer to him by his given name in the presence of his boss, Hayden will have no idea who you're talking about.
  • Community:
    • Starburns, one of the other students in Señor Chang's Spanish class. His sideburns are shaped like stars.
    • My name is Alex!
  • On Corner Gas the Mayor is "Fitzy" Fitzgerald.
  • On Criminal Minds, Jennifer Jareau is known exclusively as J.J., and Team Mom Aaron Hotchner is almost always called "Hotch" by his teammates.
  • CSI: D.B. Russell - for obvious reasons, no one calls him Diebenkorn. Except maybe Finn, to tease him once in a while.
  • Similarly, Mac Taylor's full name has never been used on CSI: NY. Everyone just calls him Mac. Word of God says it's McCanna.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: Deethra is exclusively referred to by her nickname "Deet".
  • One Dharma & Greg episode introduced Greg's regular poker buddies, including one who had only ever been referred to by generic nicknames for years because everyone had forgotten his name. If they ever knew it in the first place.
    • The only person who ever refers to Greg's mother as anything other than "Kitty" is Greg's father, and that's only when he's trying to make a point.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor. It has confirmed they have a real name, but only they (and River Song, when she was around) know what it is, and that's exactly how they like it.
    • The Doctor's granddaughter is only referred to as "Susan Foreman", the identity she assumed at Coal Hill School, even though "Foreman" is a punning alias nicked from the junkyard the TARDIS landed in and "Susan" seems a very unlikely name for a Gallifreyan.
    • The other renegade Time Lords seen, most prominently the Master and the Raninote , also fall under this trope.
    • Among the companions, there are Dorothea "Dodo" Chaplet, Romanadvoratrelundar, who's only ever called "Romana" once she's introduced herself fully in her first scene, Perpugilliam "Peri" Brown, Melanie "Mel" Bush and Dorothy "Ace" McShane. Even the surname McShane comes from the Expanded Universe; in the series Ace admits her real name is Dorothy when she's introduced, and is just "Ace" from then on.
    • Captain Jack Harkness. Stole his name in the 1940's on the grounds that it sounded cool. Even he might not remember his real name; though Big Finish Doctor Who gives Time Agency-era Jack the name Javic Piotr Thane, it's not yet confirmed whether he was using his real name at that point.
    • Subverted with the character of Bannakaffalatta from "Voyage of the Damned": he vehemently rejects any attempt to give him a more manageable nickname and insists everyone says the whole thing.
    • "River Song" is actually an alias of Melody Pond. Even after the Doctor, Amy, and Rory learn her birth name, everyone still refers to her as River.
    • "Forest of the Dead": Donna's husband inside the computer is called Lee McAvoy. The fact that he wasn't named that in real life is one of the reasons why she ends up missing him when everyone is freed from the computer, the other being his severe stutter.
    • Amelia "Amy" Pond, who stopped going by her full name after the Doctor told her it was "a bit fairytale".
    • "A Good Man Goes to War" features the Thin One and the Fat One, an Anglican married couple: "We're the thin, fat, gay, married, Anglican marines. Why would we need names as well?"
    • Series 10 companion Billie "Bill" Potts, to the point her full first name can only be found via Freeze-Frame Bonus in her first episode.
    • Yasmin Khan is "Yaz" to her friends and family, and since the Doctor decides that they are friends mere moments after meeting her, it's how almost everyone around her addresses her from her first episode onwards.
  • Turtle on Entourage. His first name (Sal) was not revealed until season five.
  • Euphoria: Though some characters like Kat (Katherine) and Maddy (Madeleine) are also occasionally called by their full names, many are not. Jules (Julia?), Cassie (Cassandra?), Lexi (Alexandra?) and Nate (Nathan?) will invariably get called by those names even though in most cases we can presume that they have a longer one, it's just not used.
  • Hoban Washburn (Wash) and Kaywinnit Lee Frye (Kaylee) of Firefly. Even Wash's own wife never calls him Hoban.
  • Spike and Wordy are almost exclusively referred to by their nicknames on Flashpoint rather than as Michaelangelo and Kevin. Plus Juliana is always Jules.
  • One The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode involved Will and his grandmother sneaking out of the house and meeting up with an unseen character known only as The Captain who would then drive them to a Heavy D concert.
  • The neighbor in the next building over from Monica's apartment in Friends is only known as "Ugly Naked Guy" or "Fat Ugly Naked Guy" by the main characters since he's fat and ugly (while his gut is shown at one point, his face is never shown) and lounges around his place naked. In a flashback where he was more fit, he was known as "Handsome Naked Guy."
    • In "The One Where They're Going to Party!", Ross and Chandler hear that a college friend known for his wild parties is in town. The friend in question is never seen and usually referred to as "Gandalf" because he's "the party wizard".
  • DJ Tanner on Full House (and later, Fuller House). Her real name is Donna Jo.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Hot Pie. We never learn his real name.
    • The Tickler is not known as anything else. The nickname is enough for Jaqen H'ghar, however.
    • From House Stark, Lord Eddard, Lady Catelyn, and Prince Brandon are mostly referred to as Ned, Cat, and Bran respectively.
    • Hodor is the Stark's stableboy whose only word is "Hodor". No one knows his real name until in Season 6 where his real name is Wylis (Walder in the books) and it turns out that Bran Stark warged into young Wylis during his greenseer dreams while Meera was yelling "Hold the door!" as she and Bran escaped from the White Walkers. As a result, Wylis started to have seizures and yelled "Hold the door!" repeatedly until he said "Hodor!" which led to his mental regression. The show writers confirmed that Hodor's name origin comes from George R. R. Martin himself.
    • Old Nan's real name is never revealed on the show, she's merely known as 'Old Nan'.
  • General Hospital: Lucas Lorenzo "Lucky" Spencer, Jr. Mainly to differentiate him from his more famous father, the male half of the original Super Couple. His father himself is only known as "Luke". His nephew Lucas, also named after him, is the only one of the three to avert this. Luke also slightly inverts this, being the only one in town to call the women in his life by their real names rather than the nicknames everyone else uses — sister Bobbie ("Barbara"), niece Carly ("Caroline"), friend Alexis ("Natasha"), and daughter Lulu ("Lesley Lu") — and was the only person on the show to do so.
  • On Gilligan's Island, Gilligan, Skipper and The Professor were their names during the run of the show, while Skipper and The Professor had real names which were only said once on the pilot, Captain Jonas Grumby for Skipper and Roy Hinkley for The Professor, while Gilligan didn't even have a name. Sherwood Schwartz has said it's Willy Gilligan while Bob Denver has said it's Gil Egan.
  • Rory Gilmore's full name on Gilmore Girls is Lorelai Leigh Gilmore. Her mother named her after herself, and she babbles in the pilot to a cute boy:
    Rory: It's my mother's name, too. She named me after herself. She was lying in the hospital thinking about how men name boys after themselves all the time, you know, so why couldn't women? She says her feminism just kind of took over. Though personally I think a lot of Demerol also went into that decision.
  • Glee:
  • On Good Girls Revolt, Patti is never called Patricia, and her name is only seen once, in the tenth episode, on a list of signatures.
  • Charlotte "Charlie" Duncan from Good Luck Charlie. Also her brother Potty John "PJ" Duncan.
  • In Gossip Girl, everyone calls Nate Archibald's father "The Captain"... including Nate.
  • Cappie (and many other Kappa Taus) in Greek. Beaver's real name is Walter and the series finale reveals Cappie's full name is Captain John Paul Jones.
  • Hancock's Half Hour featured a story called The Reunion of Hancock's old army buddies, "Ginger" Johnson, "Chalky" White, "Smudger" Smith and "Kippers" Hancock. Smith arrives first.
    Smith: I'd rather you didn't call me "Smudger," it's not the sort of name I'd like to get known at the bank.
    Hancock: But... it's your name! You haven't got another one, have you?
    Smith: Erm, yes... Clarence.
    Sid James: (Characteristic cackle) Clarence!
  • Happy Days:
    • The Fonz, or "Fonzie," is only seldom referred to by his real name, Arthur Fonzarelli. Richie's mother is the only person allowed to call him Arthur.
    • Potsie. He is virtually never referred to by his given name, Warren.
    • Starting in the second season, "Arnold's" was owned by Matsuo Takahashi (played by Pat Morita). Everyone calls him "Arnold," however; he jokes that it was easier and cheaper to answer to "Arnold" than to buy the letter signs to rename the Malt Shop "Takahashi's."
  • In Have Gun – Will Travel, Paladin isn't the main character's real name. Even people who'd known him since before the Civil War only used that name!
  • Olaf Gustavson from Here Come the Brides is almost exclusively referred to as Big Swede.
  • For the longest time in Heroes, Noah Bennet's mysterious associate was known simply as "The Haitian." Claire later reveals that his real name is René. Earlier, Bennet himself was only known among the fans as HRG, which stands for "Horned-Rim Glasses", his signature eyewear. His first name wasn't revealed until much later.
  • In Hey Dad..!, Nudge's real name is Gerald Noritis, but probably even he doesn't remember.
  • Highlander: Duncan 'Mac' [MacLeod]and Hugh "Fitz" Fitzcairn.
  • In House, everyone refers to the female on the second incarnation of the team as "Thirteen," which she kept from when House assigned numbers to the doctors competing to be hired. Her real name was shrouded in mystery, until later episodes when her name was revealed to be Remy Hadley.
    Cuddy: Dr. Hadley!
    House: See? She doesn't even know your name.
  • iCarly:
    • Sam never gets called by her real name Samantha.
    • Freddie never gets called by his real name Fredward except by his mother (and Sam when she wants to insult him).
    • In the iCarly movie iDate A Bad Boy, there's a scene where Sam enters the Shays' house and calls for Carly. She says, "Carly? Carly? Carlotta?" So Carly's real name is Carlotta unless "Carlotta" is the nickname.
    • Their principal falls into this too, as he goes by Teddy instead of Tedward.
    • Gibby's name is Orenthal Cornelius Hayes Gibson. His friends didn't know his real name until "iStill Psycho." Even his mother calls him Gibby.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia has Mac, whose real name is revealed to be Ronald McDonald.
  • JAG: Up until the season 4 episode "War Stories," none of the other main characters knew that the full name of their boss, Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden, is Albert Jethro.
  • On The Joe Schmo Show, the real names of the characters of "The Hutch" and "Kip" from the first season were given in publicity materials as Calvin Hutchinson and Carlos Calderas, but only "The Hutch" and "Kip" were ever heard on the show itself.
  • In Kim's Convenience, Jung's friend is only known by the name Kimchee which is almost positively a nickname. All that's known is his surname, thanks to his mother being mentioned in-series as Mrs. Han; otherwise, everyone from his boss/work colleagues to his elders call him by that name.
  • Leave It to Beaver has Theodore "Beaver" Cleaver and Clarence "Lumpy" Rutherford.
  • On Leverage, Sophie is this, Sophie Devereaux isn't her real name, it is merely her favorite of her many assumed identities. Parker also uses the name Alice White fairly often and is known by this name to Peggy, her only friend outside the team.
  • Lincoln Heights: ALL of the main characters are referred to by abbreviated nicknames of their actual names. Edward-Eddie, Jennifer-Jenn, Cassandra-Cassie, Elizabeth-Lizzie, Taylor-Tay. It's a wonder they didn't just give them those names in the first place.
  • The Little Drummer Girl: The main character is called Charlie almost all of the time, not Charmian.
  • In London's Burning, many of the firefighters are invariably referred to by their nicknames (such as Vaseline, Bayleaf, Sicknote, etc).
  • Lost:
    • Hugo "Hurley" Reyes and James "Sawyer" Ford.
    • Locke, Ben and Juliet are the only ones who call them by their real names.
    • In later seasons, Sawyer is almost exclusively called James or Jim, when he's working for DHARMA in the 1970's. The fact that he doesn't use the name "Sawyer" there plays into a scene in "He's Our You."
  • Many of Kelly's boyfriends on Married... with Children.
  • Benjamin 'Hawkeye' Pierce, Walter 'Radar' O'Reilly and 'Trapper' John MacIntyre from M*A*S*H. Averted with BJ - everyone assumes it's a nickname at first, but he apparently is really named BJ, after his parents Bea and Jay. Maybe. Hawkeye refuses to accept that explanation and demands to know what it really stands for. Instead of standing by his answer, BJ gives the same enigmatic reply from earlier, "Anything you like."
  • Howie from Max & Shred is actually named Jill. Alvin "Shred" nicknamed her when she was younger and kept asking him 'how?'
  • My Mad Fat Diary:
    • Chop (real name Arnold Peters) and Danny Two Hats.
    • Possibly Tix as well - as we don't know if this is her real name or a nickname.
  • The Big Bad of The Mentalist is only identified by the pseudonym Red John until about halfway through the sixth season. (It turns out they have met him under his real name, but he very carefully separates that from his criminal activities.)
  • Mythbusters:
    • Even in the credits, Tory's name is given as "Tory Belleci." His real first name is Salvatore.
    • According to That Other Wiki, Jamie Hyneman is "James" on his birth certificate.
  • Almost every major character on My Three Sons.
    • "Steve" for Steven Douglas
    • "Bub" for William O'Casey
    • "Mike" for Michael Douglas
    • "Robbie" for Robert Douglas
    • "Chip" for Richard Douglas
    • Chips original best friend "Sudsy" for Hubert Pfeiffer.
    • Later "Ernie", for Ernest Douglas.
    • Charlie, for Charles O'Casey
    • "Kate" for Katherine Douglas, Robbie's wife.
    • "Dodie" for Dorothy Douglas, Steve's stepdaughter.
    • AND the exception. Barbara, Steve's second-wife, is Barbara. Never Barb, or Barbie!
  • On The Nanny, C.C. Babcock is known only by her initials, as is practically her entire family (like her sisters G.G. and D.D., and mother B.B.). In the finale, her name is finally revealed to be Chastity Claire Babcock.
  • NCIS has Ducky. He occasionally goes by Dr. Mallard or Doctor by those who don't know him (or by Palmer, out of respect) but for the most part it's simply Ducky. That's because his full name is Dr. Donald Mallard, by the way. The Mallard is also a species of wild duck.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has Coconut Head, Backpack Boy, and Crony, who never have real names given. Billy Loomer and Lisa Zemo are usually referred to by their last names (though that changes for Lisa in the 3rd season). Tracey and Stacey are referred to simply as the Oboe Twins (they both play the oboe), until they get their A Day in the Limelight episode. And of course, there's Moze (Jennifer Mosely) and Cookie (Simon Nelson Cook).
  • Nos4a 2: Millie is only occasionally called by her full name, Millicent.
  • One-shot character One-nad from Oliver Beene. Real name was Walter.
  • Orange Is the New Black has Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson, Galina "Red" Reznikov, Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren, and Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett. It also took a few episodes for Mendez's name to be revealed. Even the captions call him "Pornstache."
    • Taystee is this so such an extent that a friend doesn't learn her real name until the fourth season, and even the guards know her only as "Taystee."
    Guard over PA system: Inmate Tasha Jefferson to the warden's office (aside) Who is Tasha Jefferson? Oh, Taystee! Taystee, go to the warden's office!
    Suzanne: Your name's Tasha?
  • Our Miss Brooks: "Stretch" (Fabian) Snodgrass, and his brother "Bones" (Winston).
  • The Outpost: Elinor Chadwick is usually called "The Mistress" and her real name isn't revealed until the second season when her sister appears.
  • Pandora: Jax is only rarely called "Jacqueline".
  • Peep Show has Super Hans (an eccentric wannabe musician and drug addict), Big Suze (a tall, posh woman) and Dobby (a proud female geek). Though we know Dobby and Super Hans' real names by the end of the series, Big Suze's remains a mystery.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Bulk and Skull from early seasons. With full names like Farkus Bulkmeier and Eugene Skullovich, you can't blame them much. Power Rangers Samurai introduces Skull's son, "Spike," but it isn't clear if that's his real name or a nickname.
    • A milder case for fan-beloved Tommy Oliver who is almost always referred to solely as Tommy. In Power Rangers Dino Thunder we learn that his full name is Thomas- but it happens that in that series he receives another nickname, Dr. O.
    • In Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Waldo Brooks is referred to solely as "Dustin."
    • Also TJ Johnson of Power Rangers Turbo/Power Rangers in Space and RJ of Power Rangers Jungle Fury, full names Theodore Jay Jarvis Johnson and Robert James. TJ's full name wasn't even revealed until several years after the fact, during a Milestone Celebration appearance.
    • Several characters in Power Rangers RPM only go by aliases, and even they don't know their actual names: Dr. K, Gem, and Gemma were abducted into a government think tank as kids; while Dillon and Tenaya were mindwiped by the Big Bad.
  • In Punky Brewster, the title character's real name is Penelope.
  • Ned in Pushing Daisies, although as that's the only name we're given for him besides "the pie maker," it's possible that it's actually his birth name rather than an abbreviation.
  • Staff Sergeant Phillip "Hippy" Roper in Red Cap. Everyone calls him Hippy, including his superiors, thanks to his unruly hair.
  • Red Dwarf:
    • The Cat in is only known as "Cat," but as Lister admitted, he doesn't have a name (or he has one he never bothered to divulge).
    • In the novel Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, it's explained that the Cat can't grasp the concept of needing a name; everyone should just know who he is.
  • Much like the head of OCP in the first two movies, the head of OCP in RoboCop: Prime Directives is known by what everyone calls her, in this case, "the Old Woman."
  • Roseanne:
    • Jackie is a nickname, but even she herself wasn't aware of that fact until Bev casually brought it up in conversation. Her real name is either Marjorie or Mary-Jane; Bev can't remember which. Roseanne, as a child, was unable to say the original name and it came out as "My Jackie," which led to her just being called Jackie. (Although in the revival series of 2018, Jackie gives her full first name as Jacqueline.)
    • Also used for DJ:
      "We've been working so much, I feel like we hardly know our kids. I'm starting to forget what 'DJ' stands for."
      • It's "David Jacob," though it almost never comes up after David Healy is introduced (who's also an example, as his name is actually Kevin).
  • On Route 66, Buz Murdock is always addressed as if Buz were his actual first name. We never learn what his real first name might be.
  • Screech was almost never referred to as Samuel Powers on Saved by the Bell, even by teachers.
  • John "J.D." Dorian in Scrubs. Only his brother and (late) father call him "Johnny." The Janitor, whose name we still don't know, although that's more because every time he reveals it, the audience is quickly led to believe he was lying. Turk arguably gets it worse than J.D. (Being called girls' names not withstanding), since only his biological family & his superiors in surgery call him Chris or Christopher, but Dr. Kelso got drunk at his wedding to Carla (who still calls him by his last name after the wedding), subsequently thought his name was Turk Turkleton & called him that for the rest of the series, with some people picking up on it and calling him by that name on occasion.
  • Following Navy tradition, most of the characters on Sea Patrol are referred to by their nicknames - Bomber, Spider, Swain. Some of these make sense in context; RO is the Radio Operator, for example. Some, not so much.
  • In the Seinfeld episode when Elaine finds the "Bizarro Jerry," Bizarro Jerry introduces one of his friends by saying, "And this guy, we just call Feldman."
  • Mr. Big on Sex and the City. We don't learn his first name until the last shot of the series, or his full name until The Movie. John James Preston.
  • The Shadow Line has Gatehouse. Glickman calls him James, but other than that he's universally referred to as Gatehouse — even by his allies and employers.
  • An episode of Small Wonder revealed that Vicki's legal name was Victoria. (The Lawsons probably had to fudge some papers fast.)
  • Many characters in The Sopranos are referred to by nicknames (Big Pussy, Junior, etc.).
  • Stargate Atlantis:
    • It's not entirely certain whether the Wraith even have names. They certainly don't use them around humans, who wind up calling recurring Wraiths things like "Michael," "Todd," and "Kenny." Strangely, the Wraith sometimes use the human-bestowed names in each other's presence as well. The Expanded Universe says that Wraith have names based on how their minds "feel" to each other, which kind of makes sense for a telepathic race. Amusingly, they're under the mistaken impression that human names have a similar meaning.
    • Puddle Jumpers. After Sheppard christened it in the pilot, (in reference to a light aircraft and the event horizon of the Stargate), everyone refers to them by that name. The Ancients actually referred to them as "Gate-Ships." Which is what McKay initially called them as well, with no knowledge of the Ancients' name, because they're ships that go through the gate, but Sheppard vetoed this for not being cool enough.
  • Starsky & Hutch: Huggy Bear's last name is revealed to be Brown in "Huggy Bear and the Turkey," but his real first name is never mentioned in any episode.
  • A famous one would be Commander Montgomery Scott on Star Trek: The Original Series. Everybody just calls him "Scotty." Also Dr. Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise, everyone who is on first-name basis with Commander Tucker calls him Trip. His real name is Charles Tucker the Third, the "third" part being where the nickname originated. The Expanded Universe novels indicate that even his parents generally use it, which makes sense given that his father had a prior claim to "Charlie" and three generations of Charles Tucker at the same Thanksgiving dinner table would get confusing. Trip also has a younger brother called Bart, which it's reasonable to suppose is short for something or other.
  • Stranger Things:
    • If the monster even has a real name (which is doubtful), than we never learn what it is. The protagonists nickname it "the Demogorgon" after a monster they recently used in a Dungeons & Dragons game and use that name almost exclusively. The rest of the cast never bothers giving it a name.
    • Season 2 continues the DND-inspired Theme Naming for the monsters by having the Eldritch Abomination trying to invade Hawkins get nicknamed "Mindflayer."
    • Eleven was born "Jane Ives" but was unaware of this until Season 2 when she was thirteen due to spending most of her life as a lab rat. By Season 3 she has a legal name in "Jane Hopper" yet everyone including the girl in question act as though her name is still "Eleven", mostly sticking with "El," a nickname Mike gave her in Season 1.
  • Supergirl (2015): Maggie Sawyer's full first name is Margarita, though no one ever calls her that.
  • Supernatural:
    • Bobby Singer — a perfectly ordinary nickname, to be sure, but a man in his sixties being referred to by it more or less exclusively is still worth noting. No 'Bob' or 'Rob,' let alone 'Robert' except when someone or something is going 'Robert Singer, I've heard of you,' or similar sentiments.
    • Similarly, the only people who call Cass "Castiel" anymore are doing it to be slightly insulting or in an attempt to reinforce the idea that he belongs to Heaven, not Earth (and specifically not with his True Companions).
    • Crowley goes strictly by that name and it's not until nearly a season later that we learn that his true name is Fergus Roderick MacLeod. His mother is the only one who calls him this.
  • Survivor:
    • Nicknames occasionally crop up in reality shows like this, and people who choose to go by these (like Survivor's "Dreamz," "Coach," and "Johnny Fairplay") are usually at least a little full of themselves. (We'll give a pass to "Flight Time" and "Big Easy" on The Amazing Race, though, as those are essentially their stage names on their day jobs with the Harlem Globetrotters.)
    • In Survivor: Nicaragua, one of the contestants (Judd) was promptly nicknamed "Fabio," eventually getting "Judd" replaced with "Fabio" in the captions and opening credits. If you missed the first episode, you might never know it wasn't his real name.
  • Switch (1975): Pete's full first name, Peterson, is never even used until the fourth episode.
  • In the BBC Historical Farm Series Tales from the Green Valley, archaeologist and presenter Peter Ginn is called by his real name in the first episode. After that, everyone - including the narrator - refers to him as "Fonz" or "Fonzy,"
  • In the Teen Wolf series, Stiles' real first name is initially unknown, and allegedly very hard to pronounce. "Stiles" is derived from his last name, Stilinski. As of season 6, it's revealed to be Mieczysław. Poor guy.
  • That '70s Show: "Hello, my name is Fez." It's not really his name, it's just short for "foreign exchange student". Also Reginald "Red" Forman.
  • In Tin Man, the Dorothy expy is known only by her initials "DG." It's implied in the third act that the "D" really does stand for "Dorothy" as she was named for her great-grandmother, Dorothy Gale.
  • Top Gear: Some say that he couldn't believe we hadn't mentioned him yet, so he wrote this himself, and that if his real name were known, we'd be able to uncover the secrets of the universe. All we know is, he's called The Stig. Some say his first name really is 'The'....
  • Trailer Park Boys:
    • Bubbles. His real name his never given on the show (and one episode confirms that Bubbles is a nickname given to him in childhood). It's especially comical when he's arrested or in court and they still only call him Bubbles.
    • There's also Shirtty Bill, who's never given a last name (like almost all the characters on the show sans the Leahey clan), and mostly goes by Shirtty.
  • Trinkets: Moe's legal first name turns out to be Maureen, but she's only called that once, by her dad.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Steel", Kelly is known by the nickname Steel as he was never beaten during his boxing career. His first name is never revealed.
  • The West Wing:
    • C.J. Cregg is only rarely called by her full name, which is Claudia Jean. And Percy 'Fitz' Fitzwallace.
    • Not precisely this trope, but it's interesting to note that almost every single West Wing character is called by either a diminutive or a nickname: 'Jed' is short for Josiah Edward, Leo for Leopold (OK, the "Leopold" appears to be a joke by CJ, considering it's only used once and Leo gives his name in a Congressional hearing as Leo), Toby for Tobias, Josh for Joshua, Sam for Samuel, Donna for Donnatella, Charlie for Charles, Abbey for Abigail, Will for William, Joey for Josephine, Kenny for Kenneth, Amy for Amelia, Andi for Andrea, Danny for Daniel, Ellie for Eleanor, Mandy for Madeline, Debbie for Deborah, Ed and Larry for Edward and Lawrence, Cliff for Clifford, Matt for Matthew...the list goes on.
  • What's Happening!! had Rerun, who rarely got addressed by his real name of Frederick.
  • White Collar has Neal's partner in crime, "Mozzie." It's not until season five that we learn his real name: Teddy Winters.
  • Very common in The Wire, considering many of the characters are criminals who only go by their street names. Lampshaded by Omar during this exchange at Bird's murder trial:
    ASA Ilene Nathan: And do you see the gunman who killed Mr. Gant anywhere in the courtroom today?
    Omar Little: (calling out) Ay, yo, what up Bird?
    Nathan: For the record, you are identifying the defendant, Marquis Hilton.
    Omar: He just Bird, to me.
    • The Greek, a crime boss on The Wire, whose real name is never revealed. And he's not even Greek.
    • There are also a number of characters more commonly known by a street name than by their real name, such as Bodie (real name Preston Broadus), Poot (Malik Carr), Snoop (Felicia Pearson), and Bird (Marquis Hilton). Oddly averted by Marlo Stanfield, the Big Bad of the final two seasons; in his first appearance, he's said to have the street handle "Black", but no one ever actually calls him that.
    • In one notable instance, this actually obscures a fairly important bit of characterization: East Side gangbanger Calvin "Cheese" Wagstaff is only ever referred to by his street name, which helps obscure the fact that he's actually Randy Wagstaff's absent biological father (a fact not otherwise made clear).
  • On Workaholics, there is Ders, short for Anders.


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