Noun Verber

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

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.

Compare Luke Nounverber, when the same principle is applied to character names. See also We Will Use Wiki Words in the Future.

Examples of Noun Verber include:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books

  • 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.



  • The Death Eaters from Harry Potter.
  • In the book The Gift, the Chosen One's title is Wind Tamer.
  • Stormbreaker.
  • 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.

Live Action TV

  • 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 Games

This Very Wiki

Video Games

Western Animation

Truth in Television

  • The U.S. Military has often utilized Code Talkers, Native American servicemen and women who use their native language as part of 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!"