Non-Indicative Name

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Pedants have the option of calling it the cavy, but that name will never be as cute.

"I was just thinkin'. About goldfish. Even though they are called 'goldfish' they aren't gold-colored, are they? They are red, right? The 'blue light' on traffic lights too, aren't they green? Things like that make me sick..."

YunoHidamari Sketch

Have you ever noticed how sometimes, pickles are really salty?

That's the sort of thing this article would be about if it were a Self-Demonstrating Article. But it isn't. That would be silly.

In our everyday language, we tend to use words that are representative of certain objects or characteristics. On the other hand, we have words or combinations of them whose real meaning has less to do with their name than you would think - or sometimes even nothing! These are generally known as misnomers; we here at All The Tropes also call them Non-Indicative Names.

Mostly for historical reasons, the misnomer sticks and (almost) nobody bats an eyelid when it is used, since it is well-accepted and people know what it means. A Cloudcuckoolander character and some punster tropers are likely to hang a lampshade on these from time to time, such as "complaining" that contents of the tin differ from the label or that the tin itself is not made of tin, or even that there's no baby in baby food.

If the name is itself an element of deliberate deception, it may be Double-Speak or a Super Fun Happy Thing of Doom. Fluffy the Terrible, Deathbringer the Adorable, and Ironic Nickname are subtropes of this. For a series with a non-indicative name, see Word Salad Title and Never Trust a Title. For songs, see Non-Appearing Title. Contrary to Exactly What It Says on the Tin. See In Name Only when this trope arguably applies to the title of a derivative work. May result from an Artifact Title.

While explanations to misnomers are welcome and encouraged, please resist the urge to make a Justifying Edit.

Looking to have fun with misleading names? See I Thought It Meant, for misleading trope names, and I Thought That Was, for misleading work names.

Examples of Non-Indicative Name are listed on these subpages: