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Meaningful Name

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Alexandria: This "Odious" — he bad man?
Roy: Oh yeah.

A name that has a direct, barely-hidden meaning to it. The first, second/third/middle/nth, last, or full name says something primal about the character. Often has multiple layers. To hide the meaning a bit, use an alternate spelling or foreign equivalent. Instead of writers having to make up random words or think of real names, they can use mythological names or old words.

As an example, it is common to use for heroic characters names associated with hunting. So, apart from Hunter, which is a valid first and last name in English, you can use a translation to another language (Jäger, or the phonetic Yeager), the name of a predatory animal (Wolf, Hawk), a translation of the latter (Wolfe, Lupin, Lupis, Wulf) or Orion, the constellation of The Hunter. Which is kinda cool, which is why this can double up with Awesome Mc Cool Name.


Often, the characters in-universe are completely unaware that a name has any meaning, and act as if the name was just like any other. If this is the case, the name is a sort of Unusually Uninteresting Sight. This can be Played for Laughs when the characters are Comically Missing the Point, or alternatively, can become a Chekhov's Gun if the name turned out to be an important plot device.

Often, the meaning tells you an important thing about the character, or THE most important thing about the character. If it's the main character, the meaning of their name may tell you about the central conflict in the show.

Sometimes used more subtly; the Meaningful Name only becomes obvious in hindsight, but when the clincher is revealed it's a moment of "Now, how did I miss that?"

Self-chosen names can manifest this naturally, but may make the character look arrogant if the symbolism is too blatant. This can be a problem with bestowed names as well; although the character didn't create it, if he accepts it without much objection, the effect is similar.


Very common in cartoons, where the meaning is most times not hidden at all, except that the target audience may not have the vocabulary to get the joke. Also common in Anime, since Japanese names have a lot of obvious literal meaning to start with.note  See notes at Theme Naming.

Real Life examples of this are often referred to as "aptronyms". The magazine New Scientist refers to it as "nominative determinism" in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and encouraged people to send examples in. (Until they utterly swamped by examples and had to repeatedly beg for readers to stop.) The proper name for this trope is "charactonym".

This goes back to the Bible and probably turns up in the books of other religions, due to the way that names in many different cultures had significance beyond the merely cosmetic.

When additions or alterations to names signify stronger versions of said beings, that's Tiered by Name. Compare Named After Somebody Famous, They Call Him "Sword". Contrast with Non-Indicative Name. Also compare/contrast with Ironic Name. See also Names to Run Away from Really Fast (which is about names indicating power and villainy and heavily overlaps with this trope), Punny Name (which many of these names fall into) and Dead Guy Junior (when the naming is intended to symbolize a deceased in-universe character's legacy in some way).


Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Audio Plays 
  • When Datu from We're Alive meets Samantha in the arena she is very stoic about their fate. She eventually tells him that she "lost Hope." When Datu tries to reassure her, she tells him that she meant her daughter, whose name is Hope. She left her behind when their building got overrun by zombies. Later, after Samantha's death, Datu becomes extremely bleak and fatalistic. He's doesn't really pull out of it until Michael, Pegs and Kelly return from the Colony, having found Hope.

  • Marriage A-la-Mode:
    • The old Earl of Squanderfield has done exactly that with his family fortune. Even before he dies, his son and daughter-in-law are living up to the family name with chronic financial irresponsibility; the Viscount gambles and spends money on women, while the Viscountess buys a wide assortment of truly ugly ornaments.
    • The lawyer drawing up the paperwork for the marriage who has a long-term affair with the bride is seen in The Marriage Settlement whispering into her ear, his words evidently having a powerful enough effect to attract and keep her attention until their deaths. Silvertongue by name, silver tongue by nature.
    • The French barber-surgeon whom the Viscount visits in The Inspection is identified on the documents next to the mechanical contraptions he has invented as Monsieur de la Pillule, which approximately translates as "Mr. Pill". Aptly, he is treating the Viscount and one or both of the ladies for syphilis with mercury pills (the standard treatment for the disease in the 18th century).

    Asian Animation 
  • In Happy Heroes, the Supermen's nonbiological father is named Doctor H., with the "H" being short for "House" or "rich palms no deposit bonus codes". In the Chinese original, he's known as Doctor Zhai, with "zhai" being Chinese for "house". He's named this because he prefers to stay in his home and is usually afraid to go outside.
  • Infinity Nado: In the Chinese original, Jin is named Ye Feng (叶枫), which literally means "leaf in the breeze". Sure enough, his Infinity Nado powers involve air attacks.
  • In Nana Moon, one of Keke's moon genie friends is named Sugar. He has such an intense Sweet Tooth that others have used candy to lure his attention to a trap in one episode and bribe him in another, and he's often seen with a lollipop in his mouth.

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering we have Mirri the cat warrior. "Mirri" is Finnish for "pussy", and is a popular name given to cats there.
    • Juzam means "evil" in Arabic; following that, Visions gave us Aku Djinn.
    • Pyrexia is the correct medical term for "controlled hyperthermia," or a fever. Pthisis is the correct term for pulmonary TB or another wasting disease. Phyrexia is where those with phthisis were sent by Yawgmoth. Also, that setting and creatures from it frequently have the Infect special ability.
    • One of the key battles fought during the Thran-Phyrexian War was at Meghiddon Defile. Meghiddon as in Ar-meghiddon. Especially appropriate given that it featured the use of a stone charger. ("Defile" is also somewhat appropriate given that Phyrexia has a pretty solid line in Body Horror.)
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! has quite a number of meaningful names, although this is a Japanese game so the majority of them are Punny Names. That being said, some names are merely mentions, homages or references, such as "Ally of Justice Clausolas", "Athena", or "[Vivian,] Lady of the Lake". Sometimes, Alternate Character Reading coupled with artistic liberties make for quite meaningful names, such as the Japanese name of "Memory of an Adversary", whose base text means "Memory of an Adversary" (好敵手の記憶) but is pronounced "Memory of a Friend" (とものきおく), which denotes a complex relationship of two characters.

    Comic Strips 
  • Spot on in The Adventures of Prudence Prim, where the protagonist was saddled with the Christian name "Prudence" by her mother, and the family name of "Prim." "Prudence" by definition is caution or forethought, and "prim" is uptight, demure, or stiffly formal. The Prims have a reputation as respectable, boring folk, and poor Prudence's full name ends up the comic Share Phrase because she's repeatedly encouraged to live up to both halves of the name. Prudence is expected to exercise discretion in all social situations (especially around men) and act in accordance with the family's traditional values lest she should bring shame upon the Prim name — expectations that contradict her fun, freewheeling personality. (Prudence even ends the comic with a Meaningful Rename when she marries a gentleman called Dicky Dare, taking his last name as she resolves to live it up.)
  • In Baby Blues, even though Hammie was named after his great-grandfather, he is a play on "ham", which was mentioned around the time he was finally given a name. Wren's name is a play on "wren" (the actual bird), although Wanda's reasoning of how she came up with the name is a different story.
  • Calvin and Hobbes are named after philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes.
  • Garfield:
  • The Wizard of Id has Bung, an almost perpetually drunk court jester who is named for a wine cask's stopper.

    Fairy Tales 

  • Sanrio:
    • 'Kuromi' can be made with the kanji for 'black beauty'. Black is her signature color.
    • 'Badtz-Maru' means 'cross-circle'. In Japan, a cross ('badtz') and a circle ('maru', literally meaning 'round') are used to signify a bad answer and a good answer, respectively. These symbols are thus associated with Badtz-Maru and they are often featured alongside him in the franchise.
  • SmaPro features this alongside Goroawase Number and Significant Birth Date.
    • Ninomiya Mashiro (February) contains the number 'two'. 'Mashiro' means 'pure white', since most of his design is white, including his hair.
    • Minami Kazuomi (March) has a family name that means 'three waves'. His design is primarily blue.
    • Usaki Akira (April) is fairly layered despite not having Goroawase Number. First off, 'Usaki' is similar to 'Usagi', hinting at his rabbit Animal Motifs, but is also spelt with the kanji that is used for April's old name, 'Uzuki'. Perhaps it is meant to reflect both.
    • Igarashi Nagi (May)'s name contains 'fifty' in his family name. Granted, it's not 'five' alone, but it's still there.
    • Kuga Edward Chiaki (September)'s last name means 'thousand autumn'. 'Kuga' is spelled with 'nine'.
    • Togami Shigure (October) has his name inferred to by the 'ten' in his name. 'Shigure' is a seasonal word signifying a late autumn rain shower.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Happens quite frequently in The Bible.
    • The name of God, YHWH/Yahweh/Jehovah means "I Am Who I Am".
    • The first man, Adam, is derived from Adamah, meaning ground. Yahweh formed Adam from the earth.
    • Sodom and Gomorrah, for example, mean "Scorched" and "Trash Heap".
    • Joshua and Jesus are both the same name, a few thousand years apart and translated: both are derived from the Hebrew Yehoshua—later shortened to Yeshua—meaning "Yeho (i.e. YHWH) saves/is salvation". Elisha is the from the similar Elishua, meaning "My God saves/is salvation". Joshua is the name of the Founder's protege, Elisha is the Prophet's student, and (if you're Christian) Jesus is the Son of God. Apparently, you can't qualify as an epic Hebrew hero without your name being "God Saves".
    • And if that old name isn't quite as appropriate as you wished, then God will change it for accuracy, most prominently with Jacob whose name, after a lifetime of struggling beside and against God and epic wrestling match with the same (or one of his best angels), is switched to Israel which means "Struggles with God". But Abraham was once named Abram before God switched his name to Abraham (which means Father of Nations).
      • Jacob's original name (meaning "supplanter") was appropriate enough, considering he exchanged a bowl of soup for his brother's birthright — which entitled him to inherit the family patriarchy and 2/3 of Father Isaac's possessions.
    • Hannah decided to give her son, Samuel, one. 'Samuel' means 'God heard my prayer'.
    • I Samuel 25 records the story of Naval, whose name means "villain".
    • Satan is derived from ha-satan, which translates to "the accuser" or "the adversary" in ancient Hebrew. The former fits his role of cosmic prosecutor, accusing people of sin, and the latter fits his role of being the adversary to God and mankind.
    • This is almost the universal naming rule for biblical characters. Take angels, for example; at least as far as the most prominent ones go, their Hebrew names explicitly characterize them as God's living extensions and/or specific traits: Gabriel ("Strength of God" or "God is my strength"), Michael ("Who is like God?", a rhetorical question — which expects an answer in the negative — meant to ascertain God's superiority before all of Creation), Uriel ("Light of God" or "God is my light"), Rafael ("It is God who heals" or "God heals").
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Deianeira means "Husband Destroyer". She indirectly caused her husband Heracles' death.
    • Perseus is thought to be derived from pérthein, "destroy," making his name "Destroyer." Perseus is best-known for killing monsters.
    • Gregory Nagy has claimed that Achilles' name derives from akhos ("grief") and laos ("people," "army") and indicates how his actions bring grief to both his own army and his enemy's over the course of the Iliad.
    • Machaon is an example of Exactly What It Says on the Tin who somehow also borders on Non-Indicative Name: His name means "warrior" and he is a warrior, but his distinguishing trait is that he's The Medic.
  • Most mythology is like this—check The Other Wiki for details, but some examples include Odin meaning something like "fury, excitement, poetry"; Aphrodite, "sea foam", as in what she was born out of; Ra means probably "sun" or "creator"; Amaterasu-ōmikami is "the great august deity who shines in the heaven"; Shiva, "The Auspicious One", was originally a euphemistic nickname for Rudra, "the Roarer"; even El (and its plural Elohim), Hebrew names of God, were Semitic for "deity". Meaningful names were the only names people had for most of history—why would a person be named gibberish, after all?
    • In fact, the few times the trope is averted in mythology are when the name is a corruption of a previous meaningful name. Zeus is just nonsense, but put it together with Pater, meaning "father", and it goes back to the previous deity Dyeus Pater, "sky father." The Romans would later corrupt Zeus Pater into Jupiter.
    • One important aversion: there are a few tenuous theories, but nobody is too sure just what Yahweh means.
  • The seventh Sunday after Easter is formally called Pentecost, because the following day is the 50th day after Easter, and "pentecosa" is Greek for "fifty". Not only that, but priests traditionally wear white robes on Pentecost, leading to its informal name of "White Sunday" — or "Whitsun" for short.
  • Nart Sagas: Argwana, whose name in Circassian may be broken down etymologically as "to stuff the vagina", reflecting his role as Setenaya's rapist. Interestingly, his name has been linked to that of the Gorgons, and it is hypothesized that the Greek word is ultimately of Northwest Caucasian origin.
  • In Norse Mythology, Loki means "knot," "tangle" or "loop." This works both literally and figuratively, as Loki is credited in-universe as the inventor of fishing nets, and he's the Trickster God in the Norse pantheon who "ensnares" others with his mischievous and chaotic nature.

  • Some Sequinox characters have them. Yukiko, aka Yuki aka Winter, contains "Yuki", the Japanese word for snow. Hannah, aka Spring's name is phonetically the same as "Hana", meaning blossom in Japanese. And of course her last name is also Flowers.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Kharma, who beats up heel Divas. In other words, Kharma's a bitch, and it comes back to bite you in the ass.
    • One of her signature moves is the "Implant Buster", where she picks a woman up into the air, flips them onto their stomach, and drops them straight down onto their... face. Among other things.
  • Sin Cara means No Face. This has a double meaning; not only does his mask completely hide his face, but due to legal necessity, he left his previous identity as Místico behind when he signed with WWE — in other words, he is now without the "face" he has wrestled under his entire career.
  • A man of mystery: Rey Mysterio Jr.. Doubles that in Spanish his name is King Mystery or King of Mystery.
  • Pompous Brit: William Regal
  • Insane woman: Luna
  • Destructive giant from India: The Great Khali [sic]
  • Pain-bringing Wild Samoan warrior: Umaga ("The End")
  • Corrupt taxman: Irwin R. Schyster [sic]
  • Evil dentist (yes, dentist): Isaac Yankem. Who later became jealous, murderous brother Kane.
  • Angry Scotsman: Roddy Piper
  • Japanese silent warrior with facepaint: The Great Kabuki
  • Adult film star: Val Venis (Rhymes with...)
  • Texan cowboy brothers: Billy and Bart Gunn
  • Gothic vampire: Gangrel (They even gave White Wolf credit for the name when licensing it!)
  • Little Richard-style flamboyant rock'n'roller: Johnny B. Badd
  • That said, that heel with all the pizazz was really named Ric (Richard) Fliehr upon his adoption as an infant, and the egotistical Ravishing Rick Rude was actually named Richard Rood. (Bobby Roode — no relation, but similar gimmick — also uses his real name.)
  • Buffed out hero. Hulk Hogan (Licensed from Marvel, even.)
  • Treacherous Brother: Judas Mesias
  • Mexican wrestling legend Dos Caras (Two Faces) was so named because he was one of Lucha's first prominent tweeners; on any given night, he could be a face or a heel. The same can be said for Dos Caras Jr., but without his mask he's almost always a heel.
  • Out of their minds luchadores who will put their bodies on the line: Psicosis and Super Crazy
  • A pair of incredibly beautiful twins of Mexican and Italian ancestry: Bella Twins (bonus points for "bella" meaning beautiful in both Spanish and Italian.)
  • Wani's name referred to a Dragon or Sea Monster from Japanese Mythology though it could also be translated as crocodile.
  • Kind of a coincidence, but John Nord played a Viking and his last name is Nord.
  • African-American woman from New Orleans: Jazz

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • The fairy-in-training Abby Cadabby is named after the term "abracadabra", a phrase commonly used by magicians, referring to her magic nature.
    • For the "Abby's Flying Fairy School" segments, Abby's shy classmate Gonnigan has the ability to become invisible... which he does quite often.
    • Big Bird is well, what you'd expect, a big bird.
    • Count von Count loves counting things.
    • The character Mr. Noodle from the "Elmo's World" segment has to use his noodle — or brain — to find out the answer to the question Elmo got from his goldfish Dorothy.

  • In Radio 4's "Bleak Expectations" it is subverted with Mr Skinflint Parsimonious and Mr Gently Benevolent, both of whom have names that are the exact opposite of their personalities (Benevolent's full name is revealed to be 'Gently Lovely Kissy Nice-Nice Benevolent'). Done straight with the Hardthrashers, who run St Bastards, and their cousins, the Sternbeaters and Whackwhallops. Also played straight with the love interests Ripely Fecund and Sweetly Delightful, not to mention the parody of Dora Spenlow in David Copperfield: Flora Dies-Early.
  • In the Cabin Pressure episode "Qikiqtarjuaq", Arthur is highly enthusiastic about flying to the eponymous community to look at polar bears. According to The Other Wiki, there is a theory that "Arthur" means "watcher of the bear".
    • Carolyn's name is a feminine derivative of "Charles" which means "free man". Carolyn is very glad to be free of her rotten ex-husband Gordon.
  • Spoofed in Nebulous, with an evil race of flame beings called Infernons. Rory is puzzled by this and asks if they infer things — "or infer nothing?". Later lampshaded when they start setting fire to things and he announces, "Oh, like 'inferno'."


    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Studios:
    • EVAC in Transformers: The Ride is an Autobot that handles evacuations.
    • The fire and ice dragons in Dueling Dragons are named Pyrock and Blizzrock, respectively.
    • Cindy Caine from Halloween Horror Nights has a twofer, though the second meaning is most likely a coincidence. 1) It sounds like Sindy, and she's just as much of a Creepy Child as that implies. 2) It resembles the word "cinder", and her second and third backstories both involve fire (being burned to death when an angry mob torched her father's home in the second, burning down the orphanage she lived at herself in the third).
  • Weeki Wachee Springs. "Weeki Wachee" means "Little Spring" or "Winding River" in Seminole Indian.

  • LEGO in 2001 caused a controversy for using words from the Maori language as BIONICLE names without the Maori's approval. The most troublesome was Tohunga, the name of the resourceful villagers. The word literally means craftsman or expert, but unknown to LEGO at the time, Tohunga were real-life traditional medical practitioners who had been discriminated against by Western settlers, thus the word carried a sensitive cultural-historical meaning. Worse, LEGO and Nintendo intended to trademark a Game Boy Advance game called Tales of the Tohunga, which nearly lead to a lawsuit. Other borrowed but less sensitive names were Toa (champion, name of the heroes), Turaga (village chief), Kanohi (face, used as masks in BIONICLE), and a collection of others. After the controversy forced LEGO to change a few of these names (most famously Tohunga to Matoran), they began using made-up words. The online ovo188 occasionally still took meaningful words from existing languages like Finnish, Egyptian, Hawaiian, Hungarian or Japanese, however when these words were used on products, they at least had their spelling changed. A lot of the made-up names also have clear meanings:
    • Axonn: carries a mighty axe
    • Brutaka: a brutal brute
    • Barraki: undersea mutants, named after barracuda:
    • Hydraxon and Hydruka: in reference to the underwater setting
    • Spinax: a spiny creature
    • the Phantoka Makuta have bat-themed names:
      • Antroz: Antrozous pallidus or pallid bat
      • Chirox and his Matoran partner Kirop: chiroptera, the order of the bats
      • Vamprah: vampire
    • most of the Light and Shadow Matoran have light-based names:
      • Tanma: tan
      • Radiak: radiation
      • Photok: photon
      • Solek: Sol, or Sun
    • Vultraz, an evil Matoran manning a black-and-gray jet: vulture
    • Mistika: fighters in the mist
    • Bitil and Krika, two Makuta suffering Mode Lock as insects: beetle and cricket
    • Mutran, a Makuta specializing in mutations and transformations
    • Icarax: Icarus — in the sense that he liked to aim too high, not that his wings stopped working
    • Ignika, a mask used to re-ignite the life of Mata Nui
    • Voya Nui, a floating island: voyage
    • Karda Nui, Mata Nui's heart-chamber: cardiac
    • Rockoh: a jet operated by Pohatu, a Stone-element character
    • Jetrax: another jet
    • Axalara: accelerate
    • Umbra: real Latin name that has the same meaning in-universe, darkest part of a shadow. Actually a deceptive name, since he has light-powers
    • Skirmix: a steed used in skirmishes
    • Fero: a ferocious bandit
    • Boxor: a mech that punches
    • Bara Magna, the desert planet: from "barren"
    • Aqua Magna, the water planet (literally means "great/powerful water")
    • Bota Magna, the jungle planet
    • Solis magna, Bara magna's sun - Literally, "great sun"
    • a lot of elemental suffixes are meaningful:
      • Ba-: gravity, from the Greek baros (weight)
      • Bo-: green, again from botanics
      • Ce-: psionics, from cerebrum (brain)
      • De-: sonics, from decibel
      • Fa-: magnetism, from Michael Faraday, who studued electromagnetism
      • Fe-: iron
      • Su-: plasma, from superheating (kind of a stretch, but that's the official explanation)
    • And of course almost all the names have their own in-universe meanings in the fictional BIONICLE languages.
  • Stretch Armstrong: The titular toy is an action figure that was designed to stretch over long distances.

    Web Animation 
  • An Adventure of Sheep and Chicken: The titular characters' names refer to their species.
  • Alfred Alfer, the mentally disturbed pitbull from Alfred's Playhouse takes his name from the Austrian psychologist Alfred Adler, diagnostician of the inferiority complex.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Killdra names her pet octopus Lotto (like 'lottery') because they're both full of suckers.
  • Dr. Upsetrose of Garnet and Gure is a mad scientist who, in his appearance in Super Effective, furiously declares how "upset" he is.
  • Most if not all characters from Happy Tree Friends, sometimes to the point of double meanings. Nutty is a hyperactive to the point of insanity squirrel, Handy is a skilled carpenter and mechanic who happens to lack hands, The Mole both is and has a mole, the list goes on.
  • rich palms no deposit bonus codesstar Runner is a "terrific athlete". Strong Bad has boxing glove hands and a wrestling mask head, and is a "bad guy". Strong Mad and Strong Sad are Dumb Muscle and The Eeyore, respectively. The Cheat loves to cheat. Pom Pom is a big round ball.
  • Lucky Day Forever: "Proles" are most likely derived from the word "proletariat", and the Whites have porcelain doll-white skin. "Sasiadka" literally means "neighbor" in Polish.
  • Random Comment Guy from the Pimp Lando series is pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's later revealed that his name is actually Guy Bergeson (though in an earlier episode he was revealed to be Ricardo Montalban).
  • Red vs. Blue: Leonard Church. Means nothing at first, but in Reconstruction, after Church is revealed to be an AI, we hear the Director of Project Freelancer narrate an Epilogue Letter about how all AIs are based off of a human mind. He then signs off with his own name, Doctor Leonard Church.
  • RWBY:
    • A Great Off Screen War eighty years ago led to the world adopting a tradition of giving children names that are connected in some way to colour to celebrate diversity instead of destroying it. Save the Big Bad and Big Good, every character have names that, in-universe, evoke colours. This can be obvious (Ruby Rose, red), obscure (Caroline Cordovin, a shade of burgandy called cordovan), indirect (Arthur Watts, the yellow of electricity), or even puns (Cyril Ian... cerulean).
    • Qrow Branwen is named after crows. He was given this name because crows are usually a sign of bad luck, and he was regarded as a harbinger of misfortune. His Semblance causes misfortune, and he cannot always control it. It's useful for battle, but makes it difficult for him to spend any time around friends or family.
    • When Raven Branwen learns Cinder Fall's full name, she accuses Cinder of making up her surname to reflect her abilities, something both Cinder and Watts imply is true. Cinder Fall became the Fall Maiden by hunting down the previous one and killing her to obtain the power. As a result, her surname is broadcasting that she is the Maiden of the autumn season.
    • Raven's subordinate, Vernal, has a name that references springtime. Along with her tattoo of a phoenix rising from flowers, it advertises her as the Spring Maiden. The reason Raven spotted Cinder Fall's ridiculously appropriate name is because Vernal's name has the same purpose; Raven trained Vernal to be a decoy to protect the real Spring Maiden from Salem.
    • The twins, Qrow and Raven Branwen, have hidden meaning to their names that Nora spots in Volume 5. In Volume 5, the heroes learn that the twins can shapeshift into their namesake birds, a magical ability bestowed upon them by Ozpin so that they could help him gather intel and locate lost Maidens. Nora concludes that Ozpin turned them into birds because of their names.
  • The Legend of Korah has this to the point of being ridiculous. Even the World's name, Terra Altsoba means Earth at War.

    Web Original 
  • Some of the Gaia Online labtechs have meaningful numbers. 247 was a workaholic (to the point where he actually got a cot for his office so he could be there 24/7), 101 was not very intelligent for a professional scientist, and 013 was killed off at the beginning, among others.
  • The name of the Big Bad in Greek Ninja is Creon. Creon is also the name of the antagonist in Antigone.
  • Killerbunnies:
    • Experiment XI0014101's alternative name "Marigold" is rather fitting in that it is a sunny flower and that she is known for her rather sunny personality. Floral symbolism wise, it serves as an Ironic Name, as marigolds tend to symbolize grief or sorrow.
    • Oleander Cloris's name is both names meaning very much green (oleander is known to be an evergreen shrub and Cloris literally means green) as she does wear a green dress and has green eyes. On a note, according to her profile, she is known for spewing venom, however, this also doubles as a Flower Motif, in that oleanders symbolize honesty, something that she is.
    • Shiyu's name could translate to "red jade", which is interesting, seeing as she wears red and she also wears something made of jade. Like Shiyu, Kanran's name allude to her clothing, which makes her look like a cabbage.
    • Cerise's real name "Hyacinth" is a purple cluster of flowers and her hair is purple.
    • Eira's name in itself is winter or ice-related, which has something do with where she's from or, rather, presumably, how she died, which was stated to be in "one of the coldest parts of the world".
    • Ardie's name is somewhat of a reference to her color scheme, as begonias are pink flowers and Pinkerton is a surname with the word pink in it. Likewise, Turquoises' name alludes to her color scheme.
    • Arachne's name is a allusion to her spider motif that she wears.
  • Parodied in an episode of The Liam Smith Show that parodied Star Trek: Voyager: a console explosion results in the deaths of Ensign Deadmeat, Ensign Numbersup, Ensign Futurecorpse and Ensign Imgoingtodieahorribledeathonanawaymissonorwhenastationimatexplodes. (He's Dutch.) However, Ensign Expendable, introduced earlier in the episode, doesn't die.
  • Tornadoes and Blood Scouts in Lightning Dust, due to wind powers/swirling misty lower bodies and being minor BloodKnights, respectively.
  • Common with the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, especially as many agents are Only Known by Their Nickname. Shout-Out names are common, and some agents are from continua where symbolic or prophetic (such as with Tolkienverse elves' mother-names) names are widespread.
  • Reasoning has an antagonist named the Venator. "Venator" is latin for "hunter," and the Venator spends the story hunting human beings for sport.
  • The eponymous hero's name in The Saga of Tuck has a meaning to female impersonators and MtF transsexuals.
  • Scrub Club has Hot Shot whose persona is based around heat, Chill whose persona is based around cold, Squeaks who turns into soap (and is named that because soap makes squeaking noises), PT who turns into a paper towel, Sniffles, Hack, and Sweats who cause the flu (and those are flu symptoms), Gel-Mo who's made of gel-based hand sanitizer, and BAC, who's a bacterium.
  • Tales of MU has half-demon protagonist Mackenzie Blaise, whose first name can be read to mean "fire-born" and her unknown brother, Aidan, whose name means "fiery". Other characters have significance in their names, to the point where some readers look up the name of every new character who appears. Indeed, there can be frustration and complaint if a juicy new name appears and linguistic analysis doesn't quickly follow in the comments section.
  • What Is This Black Magic You Call Science?'s heroine, Chryseis. She vomits egyptian plagues via her womb connecting to her throat, and can decimate planets. Ironic in that she is actively trying to save people.
  • Plenty of supers in the Whateley Universe:
    • Notorious supervillain Dr. Diabolik (Leonides Diabliku) and his children, Jadis Diabolik and Mal Diabolik. Jadis even moreso, because she suspects that their Missing Mom is actually the superheroine White Witch, and Jadis is the name of the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia.
    • Wyatt Cody (Kodiak), an Avatar bonded with the spirit of the Kodiak bear (it later turns out that it's more complicated than that).
    • Paine Deth, who naturally enough grew up to get a Morally Ambiguous Doctorate in Mad Science.
    • Stella Woolfe (Lupine), who is the incarnation of a wolf spirit; as explained in her entry in the fan wiki, both of her parents were distant descendants of a Native American tribe that had made a pact with the spirit centuries earlier to provide the spirit with a human host, but neither of them knew about it until after she was born.
    • Harry Wolfe (Techwolf, no relation to Stella) and his father Red Wolfe, who suffer from a family curse. Whether the curse is their werewolf-like appearance or their terribly punny names is up for debate.
    • Jay Blue Lake (Bluejay), an Avatar with the spirit of the Bluejay. However, given that he is a member of the Medawhila tribe, and was already chosen to study under Totem as the tribe's lorekeeper when he manifested, this may have been arranged rather than by chance.
    • June Summers (Majestic), the Incarnation of Hera/Juno. Again, given how the Olympians chose their human forms, it is possible Hera influenced her parent's choice of name.
  • As in most superhero fiction, this kind of thing is common in Worm — the best example is probably Accord, whose name means "agreement or harmony of things in general"note , and whose most basic desire in life is the harmonious order of everything.
    • In terms of real names, rather than just codenames, both of the Cauldron boogeymen have this — Contessa's first name is Fortuna, as in lucky, and Number Man's surname is Wynn, like 'win'. Very appropriate for two capes with some of the most absurdly broken powers in the series.

    Web Videos 
  • Critical Role: The name of the sentient sword "Craven Edge" is an anagram of "Vecna Greed", alluding to the evil god of secrets and the weapon's perpetual hunger for blood.
  • In Decker, the characters Decker and Kington are named for their actors, Tim Heidecker and Gregg Turkington.
  • Mr. and Mrs. Dead from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared are, well, dead.
  • Door Monster: The Guards Themselves has the character Lincoln, who creates pennies from thin air. Just pennies.
  • Doraman: Just from reading his name, you know Doraman is into Doraemon.
  • 5 Second Films has such characters as Johnny Quickdeath and Dealbreaker Jones:
    "Damn you Dealbreaker Jones, that wasn't part of the DEAAAALLLLL!"
  • Gameboys: Discussed in-universe.
    • Cairo — Aside from the Family Theme Naming, it also means "one who is victorious" Fitting for a live-stream gamer with a competitive streak in various aspects of life.
    • Gavreel — "the Angel of Peace". Though he jokingly says it's the name of the motel he was conceived at.
  • Lilsimsie, a YouTuber who makes Sims 4 videos, is actually named Kayla Sims.
  • Big Shine, a clone of Matthew Santoro, has that name because he's The Big Guy.
  • Noob:
    • In French gaming speak, the word "Kevin" has a meaning that can overlap with that of "Noob". The titular guild has an actual Noob in it and his real-life first name was probably the easiest one to choose for the series creator. Kevin's last name is "Lepape", which would be like being called "ThePope" in English; his character is a priest.
    • Kary, if only phonetically so. The way her Online Alias is pronounced in French makes is sound just like the word for a tooth cavity. Since, story-wise, she ends up existing for the sole purpose of eventually putting Arthéon in a state of mind that makes him disband the Noob guild and briefly question his friendship with his former guildmates, it sounds awfully appropriate.
  • Dr. Tease, a character in The Nostalgia Chick's show, is a sexy scientist. What a shock.
  • Curiosa from The Nostalgia Critic's Mad Max: Fury Road is the only one curious enough to hear Critic out instead of attempting to kill him.

    Real Life 
  • Nominative determinism is the hypothesis that a person's name has an influence on the type of career they will pursue in life.
  • "C++" is a computer language that's an improved version of the "C" computer language. The Meaningful Name, as well as Pun (if you understand the computer language) kicks in when you know "++" is an affix within "C" that when attached to a variable, increases its value. Thus the name "C++" means "C improved/taken up a notch" — which it is.
    • Similarly C# (pronounced C Sharp) has two interpretations. First is from the musical term, where a sharp is a "higher" pitch version of the tone, and so C# is a higher version of C. Or you can take two "++" operators and stack them, producing the # character. Or "C++ improved"
  • It's weirdly poetic and funny that the guy responsible for the biggest Ponzi scheme of all time is named Bernie Madoff (pronounced "made-off"). Said name went on to carry the second meaning, "he 'burned' people and 'made off' with millions of dollars".
  • There's a sort of poetic justice in the U.S. Supreme Court case striking down laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the country being titled Loving v. Virginia.
  • In 2003, astronomers discovered an object in the outer solar system that was larger than Pluto. This, a long with the discovery of other similar objects in that same era, kicked off a 3 year long debate among astronomers about whether ought to remain classified as a planet. This culminated in Pluto being demoted from its status as a planet, and the object in question being named Eris, the Greek goddess of discord, due to all of the arguments it caused.
    • Its discoverers originally suggested naming it "Xena", after the character played by Lucy Lawless. It has a moon named Dysnomia, after the Greek spirit of lawlessness.
  • One of the most notorious cocaine traffickers was Griselda Blanco Restrepo. Commonly called just Griselda Blanco. That's right, the "Cocaine Godmother" was named Griselda White.
  • Prohibition advocate and cult person Carry A. Nation (the A stands for Amelia) took advantage of her meaningful name in speeches where she promised she would "carry a nation" towards prohibition. Her adversaries and critics also joked about it, with the phrase "All Nations welcome except Carry" becoming a bar-room slogan. She eventually had her own name trademarked.
  • "Albert" means "noble and bright". And who is the most famous bearer of that name ?
  • Physicist Karl Schwarzschild, whose last name means "black shield" in German, worked closely with Einstein on relativity. In the process of doing this, he discovered the nature of black holes, which can be aptly described as a black barrier — a shield, if you will — forever separating its contents from the rest of the universe.
  • Actor Tod Slaughter (think Dastardly Whiplash) had such a stage name, which makes sense for someone who made a habit of playing serial killers (and maintaining Kayfabe). His real name, though? Norman Slaughter.
  • Considered North America's greatest racehorse of all time (with the possible exception of Secretariat), Man o' War was defeated only once in his career, by a horse named Upset.
  • American senator George McGovern.
  • Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard Thaler, thaler being an old European silver coin (the word "dollar" is descended from it).
  • Hollywood director Tim Story.
  • Usain Bolt, Olympic sprinter, is the world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres, and 4 × 100 metres relay.note 
  • Quite a few U.S. college rivalries have this type of name, sometimes unusually specific. Examples of "unusually specific" include (but are not limited to):
    • Battle of the Boulevard: Nashville rivalry, primarily in basketball, between Belmont and Lipscomb, with the schools being separated by a bit over 2 miles (4 km) of Belmont Boulevard.
    • Battle of the Domes: A recently applied name to the long-standing rivalry between Idaho and Idaho State. The reference is to the fact that both schools play football in domed stadiums (and, at least through the 2020–21 season, also play men's basketball in said facilities).note 
    • Battle of 33rd Street: Philadelphia rivalry, also primarily in basketball, between Drexel and Penn, with campuses that share a physical border and basketball arenas separated by 3 blocks of 33rd Street.
    • Causeway Classic: College football rivalry between Sacramento State and UC Davis, public schools separated by about 11 miles/18 km. The "Causeway" in question is the Yolo Causeway, which carries Interstate 80 over a flood bypass that had once been a seasonal barrier to transportation between the two cities.
    • Revolutionary Rivalry: Washington, D.C.-area rivalry between George Mason, in the Virginia suburbs, and George Washington, in the District proper. Both schools were named after Founding Fathers whose plantations were in Mason's (the school's) home area of modern-day Fairfax County.
  • Randy Rainbow, a Youtuber known for his political parody songs, is openly gay and was indeed born with the name Rainbow (his father had it changed from "Ribner" before he was born).
  • After Reggie Fils-Aime retired from Nintendo's American branch, who replaced him? Doug Bowser. That's right, the Mario Brothers' eternal arch-enemy has taken over Nintendo!
    • For an added dose of irony, the hacker group Team Xecuter, who sold devices allowing pirated ovo188 to be played on Nintendo consoles (among others), was lead by a man named Gary Bowser. Video game news sites had a field day when he was caught, with headlines like "Bowser is going to prison for selling Nintendo Switch hacks".
  • Ever head of/drank the popular Tito's Vodka? Well the "Tito" in the name is a reference to its owner Tito Beveridge. It's not spelled the same way as "beverage" but is pronounced the same.
  • MAGA, an acronym for Make America Great Again, is a Nigerian slang term referring to an idiot who's easily led by a conman. Donald Trump, who popularized the phrase and its acronym, has long been accused of being a conman by his opponents, and the journalist who discovered the Nigerian meaning of MAGA did not let it go unnoticed.
    • On this note, Teflon Don's name counts too. Trump has the same origin as "triumph" a.k.a victory, also a Trump Card is defined as "an advantage that makes you more likely to succeed than other people", aptly describing his successes, despite (or maybe even because of) the controversies surrounding them.
  • Chinese Olympic hurdler Liu Xiang, with Liu being his surname and Xiang meaning "soar".
  • Country Music singer Steve Wariner has the middle name "Noel" because he was born on Christmas Day (December 25). Naturally, he lampshades this on his first Christmas album.
  • Retired baseball player Cecil Fielder. And his son, Prince Fielder, also a baseball player.
  • The Canadian War Museum is located on 1 Vimy Place. The Battle of Vimy Ridge was a WW1 battle that took place in France where the main combatants were Canadian forces against Germans.
  • World heavyweight champion boxer Tyson Fury. His family line has a history of bare-knuckle boxing and his dad was a fan of Mike Tyson, so his given name was an intentional version (albeit not because his father expected him to be heavyweight champion of the world, but because he must have been a fighter to survive his birth, being born weak and premature). "Fury" wasn't; it's derived from the Gaelic name Ó Fiodhabhra.
  • British expert on drug abuse and child sexual exploitation, Dr Angie Heal, who helped bust child sexual abuse rings in the UK.
  • Beaurepaires, a tyre and automotive services company in Australia and New Zealand, is named for its founder, Frank Beaurepaire. "Beau" is French for "handsome", and there's a "repair" in the name.
  • During World War II, among Britain's successful exploits in the intelligence and espionage battle with Nazi Germany was the Twenty Committee, led by John Cecil Masterman, who was able to catch and turn every German agent sent to the UK into a double-agent for MI-5. The committee's name was derived from the operation's name — "Double Cross", as in "to betray" and also what XX means in Roman numerals.
  • Another major WWII figure, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, had such a name. His given name of "Isoroku" was an old Japanese term for "56" — his father's age at the time of the future admiral's birth.
  • After the murder of George Floyd, there was no shortage of editorials pointing out that the murderer's name, Derek Chauvin, happened to be similar to the derogatory word "chauvinist", defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as someone who displays "excessive or prejudiced support for their own cause, group, or sex". This Medium article takes it to a whole new level by pointing out the meaning of his first name as well. Chauvin would ultimately be convicted of all charges on April 20, 2021, nearly 11 months after the murder, becoming the first high-profile case of a police officer convicted in the murder of a black man; his 22.5-year prison sentence would be handed down just over a couple of months later.
  • Tea merchant T.E. Stockwell. UK's biggest supermarket, Tesco, and their Stockwell & co. brand, are named after him.
  • A sadder/scarier incident: In the 90s, Sega's development of Sonic Xtreme was cancelled because staff member Christina Coffin almost died from stress.
  • The last steam train to be built by the British Railway was named the Evening Star.
  • During the January 6th attack on the Capitol building, the rioters were lured away from the Senate chambers by a black police officer, potentially saving many lives. His name? Eugene Goodman, a name that literally means "Noble Good Man".
  • A New Jersey family earned some controversy for a particularly disturbing Halloween display of hanging bloodstained baby dolls. Their name? Krueger.
  • British historian Robert Conquest. Robert also means "fame" and "bright".
  • Lake Speed was a NASCAR driver in the 1980s and 1990s, who is of no relation to Scott Speed, who had a brief NASCAR career in the late 2000s-early 2010s.
  • Beloozero was a Russo-Tatar principality from 1238–1486, whose name means "White Lake". Even though it's more of a mere coincidence, the name "Beloozero" does invoke the usual Russian stereotype of frigid, below-zero temperatures in the winter.
  • Chinese Olympic skier Eileen Gu, or her Chinese name 谷爱凌, which literally means "Valley Love Ice". Even her English name (although "Eileen" technically came from Irish) means "Radiant Valley".
  • Eartha Kitt as Catwoman in Batman (1966) (though her real surname was actually Keith.)
  • German anthropologist Adrian Zenz, or rather, his chosen Chinese name, 鄭國恩; 鄭 is the surname and 國恩 means "nation's mercy". He is most well-known for investigating the treatment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang by China.
  • Chris Pincher, Conservative member of British Parlament, has been accused for years of groping and making unwanted sexual advancements on young men. That earned him the nickname "Arse Pincher" and ended being one of the reasons why Prime Minister Boris Johnson had to resign, as he had not only promoted Pincher knowing all that, but he even had joked about it saying "Pincher by name, pincher by nature."
  • The co-founder and CTO of Duolingo is a computer scientist named Severin Hacker.
  • The Lamborghini Sesto Elemento's name translates to "sixth element", which is carbon according to the periodical table of elements. The car itself was made entirely out of carbon fiber, hence the "sixth element".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Significant Name, Appropriate Name, Nomen Est Omen, The Name Says It All, Name Face Name



Johan van der Smut explains how he got the name Goldmember, not just from how much he loves gold, but how he loved it so much that he ended up replacing his lost genitalia with a golden replica.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / LovesOnlyGold

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