So, you're a Filmmaker. You're sitting down with a Scriptwriter between the Water-cooler and the Coffee-maker, trying to decide on a name for your epic story about a guy who verbs nouns. Yeah, he verbs them till they're adjective. Wait, that's it! He's the Noun Verber!
This isn't a very popular trope for the actual titles of movies or TV shows, but it's an old standby for lazy fantasy and science fiction authors who need a name that sounds detached from the real world and yet is immediately understandable. For some reason, a very common verb for this is "stalk." The most common noun is probably "death."
Of course this construction is extremely common in Real Life too. Firefighter, cab-driver, wine-maker, ironmonger, car dealer, Ambulance Chaser, ditch-digger, lion-tamer, news-reader, coal-miner, watchmaker, computer programmer, bartender, gas-fitter, dishwasher, childminder, wine-taster, greengrocer, snack-dispenser, bricklayer, dressmaker, chess-player, piano-tuner etc. etc.
Comic Books[edit | hide]
- Hero and villain names often follow this trope, with such names being almost as common as Something Person. Also, once upon a time, Captain America's comic was subtitled "Commie Smasher."
- Marvel supervillain Death Stalker.
Literature[edit | hide]
- The Death Eaters from Harry Potter.
- In the book The Gift, the Chosen One's title is Wind Tamer.
- Banewreaker and Godslayer by Jacqueline Carey.
- David Gemmell's Druss the Legend is known as "Deathwalker" to his enemies. Well, one nation of his enemies.
- In the comic book tradition of doing this with super-person codenames, the Whateley Universe has one of its heroines named Bladedancer. Not to mention side characters like Shadowdancer.
- In ~The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy~, Arthur Dent is... The Sandwich Maker.
- Less often done in the "hero pulps", but often in the paperback original series of the 1960's to 1980's. The Executioner, the Penetrator, the Sharpshooter, the Liquidator, the Destroyer, the Butcher, the Nazi Hunter, the Terminator, the Revenger, the Avenger, the Protector, etc. stand as examples. Many retrospectives on the paperback original trend (e.g. Jeff Siegel's The American Detective: An Illustrated History, Sons of Sam Spade, Geherin in American Private Eye, Warren Murphy's article in The Fine Art of Murder, Murder Off the Rack's Matt Helm article) derisively point out how common the agent noun series title turned out.
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- In the Black Company series by Glen Cook, most of the original Ten Who Were Taken with the exception of the Limper and the Howler. (Stormbringer, Soulcatcher, Bonegnasher, Moonbiter...the list goes on. Most are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, too.)
- And another Deathstalker, just to prove a point.
- The Babylon 5 villain Deathwalker.
- And don't forget the Soul Hunters.
- Kolchak the Night Stalker
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Punch Kicker and his nemesis Kick Puncher.
- Farscape appears to subvert this trope. The Peacekeepers are much more unnecessarily violent and cruel than peaceful, but the majority of them seem to believe they are doing what's right to protect the galaxy, even when they do more harm than good. In "The Peacekeeper Wars", it is revealed that a group of the shared ancestors of Humans and Sebaceans were taken from their homeworld by Eidelons, a group of very powerful negotiators who can influence rationality in others, and used to keep the peace after negotiations finished. Once the Eidelons disappeared, the Peacekeepers kept peace the only way they could, "at the barrel of a gun", indicating that originally, at least, the trope was played pretty straight.
Tabletop RPG[edit | hide]
- Magic: The Gathering is positively brimming with Nounverbers, such as the famous Planeswalkers. Many of their nounverbers verb nouns with verbs that don't even make sense. How does one weave smoke? Or braid it? How does one grin gristle? Why would some elves who live in the wild want to slay it? What's so great about a creature who can see something six feet away? And who would ever want to buy spirits from a giant monster?
- Aw, c'mon, at least one of those is an Adjective Verber. Also, I think it is a creature made of gristle that is grinning.
- Dungeons & Dragons also has its fair share of monsters that are nounverbers, most famously the Mind Flayer.
- Not to mention the D&D supplement Spelljammer.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a few Chaos Legions that fit this trope - Word Bearers & World Eaters, for example.
- As does the Imperium. The Blood Drinkers and Flesh Tearers. Yes, those are the good guys (relatively speaking, of course).
Video Games[edit | hide]
- World of Warcraft might be the number one addict of this trope. If you can make nounverbers and put two words together into a made-up compound word, congratulations, you're at least as good as the whole Blizzard creative team.
- Fate has many examples of Noun Verbers in its randonly-generated monster names. Each part of the names is picked at random from a list.
- And who can forget Landstalker?
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: Snake Eater
- In the opening sequence of Interactive Fiction game Zork: The Undiscovered Underground (a prelude to Zork: Grand Inquisitor done in the style of golden-age Infocom), desperately trying to get out of a dangerous assignment, the player character rattles off the names of a half-dozen Noun Verbers better qualified for the job. He is cut off as he asks about "Kolchak the--"
- Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter.
- The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker.
- Note that this is due to the American translation. The original name of the game was "Kaze no Takuto" which translates to "Baton of Winds".
- Not that 'Baton of Winds' is that dramatic of a title.
- The weapons in the Mega Man series often follow this format, such as Air Shooter, Flash Stopper, Crash Bomber, Dust Crusher and Ice Slasher.
- In the Interactive Fiction game The Gostak, the darftunder tunds darfs.
- No one has mention Street Fighter - weird.
- It would be weirder if they actually fought streets.
- The U.S. Military has often utilized Code Talkers, Native American servicemen and women who use their native language as an unbreakable radio cypher. The most famous of these were the Navajo Code Talkers who served in the Pacific theater during World War II.
- Jon Stewart made a Letterman appearance where he claimed this was George Bush's favorite speech pattern. "I A B -- I'm a B A-er. I make decisions -- I'm a decision maker!"