One Mario Limit

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You were probably thinking about this guy, right?

In real life, the popularity of names goes up and down over time. One factor that affects this is the emergence of celebrities with a particular name; if there is some highly successful and well-loved pop star called Mario then expect the number of babies called Mario to rise significantly.

In fiction however, the effect can be reversed. If one character becomes sufficiently iconic they can come to "own" their first or last name so that whenever a person hears that name they immediately think of that character. This can cause problems for similarly-named characters who will often be forgotten or assumed to be inferior copies and so other writers avoid using the name outside of deliberate Shout-Outs to the original.

The ability of characters to cause this effect is to some extent a function of the existing popularity of their name; for a character to really achieve this distinction their name must be sufficiently obscure to be distinctive but common enough that other writers would have used it. Indiana Jones provides a prime example of a highly iconic character who doesn't count—his first name (technically, his nickname) is so obscure that it would probably never have been used again even if Raiders of the Lost Ark was a total flop (although part of that may have something to do with one of the United States of America taking that name—note that any Lawyer-Friendly Cameo will probably be named Oklahoma, Montana or similar), while his surname is too common to have any attachments to one specific individual, similar to Agent Smith.

Compare One Steve Limit, which is the principle of having only one character with each name within a work to avoid confusion. Contrast Name's the Same, where by coincidence, two unrelated works have characters with the same name. See Named Like My Name for when an ordinary name becomes famous by association with a particular celebrity.

Examples of One Mario Limit include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the spring of 2006, Suzumiya Haruhi and Ouran High School Host Club both received anime adaptations that were quite popular. In order to differentiate the two series' lead females, both called Haruhi, Fujioka Haruhi of Ouran was given the Fan Nickname "The Other Haruhi" because her name isn't in her show's title. Hilariously, come fall of 2006, Happiness! aired, and its heroine was quickly dubbed The Third Haruhi... for about five minutes before her show fell into obscurity, only remembered not for her but for a Wholesome Crossdresser side character who became insanely popular.
    • There's also Haruhi from W Wish, predating all the ones mentioned above by two years, but that series is not popular at all.
  • During the planning stages of One Piece, the ship's cook was originally going to be called Naruto. Obviously, he was renamed "Sanji" due to a certain manga about ninjas turning up in Shonen Jump.
  • Often, the leads of Bleach and Tokyo Mew Mew are differentiated by the names "Shounen Ichigo" and "Shoujo Ichigo". The former is sometimes called "Bleachigo".
  • There are only 2 Kaminas in anime: Ayoto Kamina from RahXephon and Kamina from Gurren Lagann. It can be a girl's name as well (spelled with different kanji). Kamina also just happens to be a name in Hindi-Urdu, meaning "rascal". It also is a town in the Congo, which is the first page you're sent to if you look for it on TOW.
  • It may be a real Japanese name, but you're not likely to see many Nanohas after the inception of the Lyrical Nanoha one.
  • Even though Asuka is one of the most common female names in Japan, for years after Neon Genesis Evangelion first aired, you could not use that name for a character without it being automatically classified as a Shout-Out. (Or worse a Possession Sue.)
    • I guess after Tekken 5 came out was when it ended, right?
  • Good luck finding another Jotaro except for all of the protagonists named some variant thereof in the various JoJo's Bizarre Adventure series.
  • Fist of the North Star: There have been people actually named Kenshiro in real life who predate Hokuto no Ken, but there aren't a lot of other characters who use the name nowadays.

Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

Film[edit | hide]

  • Luke in science fiction.
  • Bond. James Bond, and no-one-else Bond. Amusingly, he was named after a real ornithologist, and the name was picked to be inconspicuous.
  • DC Comics has a character named Deathstroke the Terminator who first appeared in 1980. He was normally referred to as just "Terminator" - until The Terminator came out in 1984. Thenceforth he was known more commonly just as Deathstroke (or Slade in the Teen Titans Animated Series).
  • The use of the term "matrix" for things computer-related also dropped off since The Matrix, though at least a few franchises predating the movie (like Gargoyles, ReBoot, and Shadowrun) continue to use it. Transformers used it prior as the Matrix of Leadership, but dropped it in favor of "Allspark" as the MacGuffin of choice. With The Matrix fading out of public consciousness with time, recent Transformers incarnations are reinstating the Matrix of Leadership as the primary MacGuffin.
  • After the success of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, the character Roger Roderick Rabbit in the comic Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew was much more frequently referred to in-story and out by his middle name than his first.
  • How many horror fans can hear the name "Jason" without thinking immediately of Jason Voorhees? In fact, the name is so iconic that (as James Rolfe once pointed out) most people wouldn't even know who you were talking about if you bothered to give the full name, but will understand when you limit it to the first name. "Jason Voorhees? Who's that?" "You know, Jason." "OHHHH!! Jason! Right, hockey mask, machete." Try to find another slasher villain named Jason who didn't predate him and isn't a parody of him.
  • In A Fish Called Wanda this trope (or the reaction to its aversion) is one of the many examples of Otto's stupidity. When he hears that Archie's daughter is named Portia (a homophone of "Porsche"), he asks why on earth Archie would name her after a car.
    • Porsche's name recognition is so great, in fact, that even some people who know that "Portia" is a name (and not just in English; it dates back to ancient Rome) assume that it's spelled the same way as the car.
    • So great, in fact, that some people have named their daughters "Porscha", nearly bringing us full circle.
    • To say nothing about (the legitimate girl's name) Mercedes.
  • In Braveheart, William Wallace's wife's name got changed from Marian to Murron, as an attempt to avert confusion with Robin Hood's love interest Maid Marian.
  • The surname Poppins is a practically perfect One Mario unless you count Chelsea Poppens of the WNBA's San Antonio Stars (and the the Iowa State Cyclones before that).

Interactive Fiction[edit | hide]

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Sherlock may never have been common enough to count, but it's rare to see a fictional character called Holmes that isn't making an obvious reference. Same goes for Watson.
  • Vladimir Nabokov once said in an interview, "I am probably responsible for the odd fact that people don't seem to name their daughters Lolita any more." "Lolita" is the protagonist's pet name for the character Dolores, and there were tons of Doloreses around (at least until Sadist Teacher Dolores Umbridge of Harry Potter). Still, Lolita might have diminished the use of this nickname, and the town of Lolita, Texas almost changed its name because of this.
  • Astrid Lindgren's Emil was re-christened "Michel" in Germany due to there being another popular Emil in children's literature, the titular Emil from Erich Kästner's "Emil und die Detektive".
  • Conan has also been associated with two people: Conan the Barbarian and Conan O'Brien. I guarantee you'll think of one when you hear the name "Conan". This is why Detective Conan had to be renamed Case Closed in North America, even though the name is actually a Shout-Out to Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle.
    • There's also the fact that Conan Properties defends the "Conan" trademark rather vigorously. Conan O'Brien has to pay a license fee to use his own name.
  • The name Hermione was once fairly obscure, but not unheard of. There were two famous actresses in the 50s and 60s named Hermione: Hermione Gingold and Hermione Baddeley (the latter you would know as Ellen the maid in Mary Poppins). Before Harry Potter, it was most associated with a Shakespeare character, which was where J. K. Rowling got it from. Now you probably can't hear the name without immediately picturing a brainy witch with bushy brown hair. Harry and Ron are, however, common enough that they don't make you think of the series unless you hear them together. Still, the name Harry is not likely to show up in another fantasy series any time soon.
    • Which makes referencing the Hermione in Romeo X Juliet tricky, as (obviously enough) she's based on the Shakespearean Hermione.
    • The other wizard named Harry will do at least one joke per book about being the wizard named Harry. Particularly amusing, since he's actually named after Harry Houdini.
    • "Potter" is now similarly blackballed, despite Lionel Barrymore's character in the film It's a Wonderful Life.
    • Jessie Cave, who played Hermione's romantic rival in Half Blood Prince, later played a character named "Hermione" on Sadie J.
  • Despite "Isabella" being the most popular girls' name in the US (at least partly due to The Red Stapler effect), its short form, "Bella," has become almost irrevocably tied to Bella Swan, the protagonist of the Twilight saga. This makes it Hilarious in Hindsight that the Harry Potter character Bellatrix Lestrange is nicknamed "Bella". (Incidentally, Bellatrix got the "Bella" nickname two years before the first Twilight book came out.)
    • Though somehow Isabela is still occasionally abbreviated as 'Bela online, usually in the form "good old 'Bela".
    • Edward Cullen is the name of a Real Life individual who was involved in the first ever production of Inherit the Wind.
      • Speaking of "Inherit The Wind" one of the writers' names was Robert E. Lee.
    • Stationery Voyagers parodies this. There's a Leonard and Bella Knight as part of Will Rook's backstory. They died in a fiery explosion, caused by Bella being clumsy, some time before the series began. Then, when "Crepuscular" parodies Twilight, Bella's role is hijacked by... Alaina?
    • It happened with the last name Cullen, too. Pre-Twilight, people with the name could expect to be mistaken for Cohen or Collins by every restaurant where they made reservations. Now, it's impossible to mention the name anywhere without hearing "You mean like EDWARD????"
  • Two characters in The Witches of Eastwick are called Homer and Marge. Oh, and they're married.
  • The word Middle-earth (translated from Midgard) was an old name for our world to distinguish it from the other eight worlds in Norse cosmology. This was why Tolkien named his constructed world "Middle-earth" — he drew a lot of inspiration from Norse mythology and he wanted to establish that a relationship exists between his Middle-earth and our own. Thanks to that, though, no one can use "middle-earth" for its original use anymore without accidentally invoking Tolkien and his legendarium. Other works that reference Norse Mythology tend to use "Midgard" instead.
  • Both Franklin and Arthur are sufficiently iconic that you almost never see characters in either children's picture books or animated shows with these names anymore (unless they are based on the Lovable Sex Maniac founding father or mythical king), despite them both still being fairly popular male names.
  • If you encounter a person named Ebenezer or Scrooge, it's very likely that the name derived from the main character in A Christmas Carol.
  • Averted in The Bible with Jesus' followers. There were several Marys, two Jameses, and (believe it or not) two Judases! Must have been awkward for the other Judas...

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • The surname Kirk is unlikely to be used in sci-fi again anytime soon. (Apart from joking references to Star Trek, obviously.)
    • Nor will any ship in sci-fi ever be named Enterprise. Expect loads of Shout-Outs and ships being almost named Enterprise, though.
      • That is exactly why the first Space Shuttle was named "Enterprise", after a nation-wide letter-writing campaign by Trekkies.
      • And this is also why the first Spaceship Two being sold to Richard Branson is being named "Enterprise".
  • There won't be much use of the surname House either... maybe a casino reference, but that's it.
  • Kermit. In real life, Teddy Roosevelt's son, born in 1889, was named Kermit Roosevelt. The name caught on and there's a long line of Kermit Roosevelt Jr etc. Kermit Roosevelt III, born in 1971, grew up Genre Savvy and named his daughter Rana. Which is Spanish (and Latin) for "frog."
  • Grover, Elmo, Oscar, Bert, or Ernie. The latter two have the same names as characters who appear together in It's a Wonderful Life, causing a lot of Sesame Street jokes (and subsequently, gay jokes).
  • The likelihood of TV characters having the name Buffy has gone down dramatically. Or at least ones that deal with vampires.
  • When most people hear the name "Lassie", they will probably think of the Heroic Dog rather than what Scots might call a girl.
  • It's unlikely there'll be any more characters named Mulder or Scully any time soon.
  • Don't think you'll be hearing the name Lorelei (or its short form, Rory) in many comedies from here on out.
  • If a character is a professor, they may be referred to as The Professor. But if they are a doctor, the will never be called The Doctor.
  • When Rob Grant and Doug Naylor adapted their radio sketch series Dave Hollins: Space Cadet for television, they decided to change the main character’s last name to Lister, as a football player by the name of Dave Hollins had become famous.
  • You can get away with giving a character the last name Kramer, but only if they're on a First-Name Basis. Saying "Hey Kramer!" is just begging for all the meaning to go out of a scene like air out of a balloon as the unintended Shout-Out rears its head.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Pretty much all Elvises ("Elves"? "Elvii"? "Elvum".) are direct Shout-Outs to The King. The ones who are not are forced to use their full names.
    • Elvis Costello named himself in reference to you know who. And he sometimes released music under the psuedonym "The Imposters".
    • Elvis Crespo. His real name is Elvis. However, his parents probably named him after THE Elvis.
    • A Swedish series of children's books by Maria Gripe features a young protagonist named Elvis by his Presley-loving mother. (Swedish children are NEVER named Elvis unless it's a tribute to The King.) After The King dies, his mom starts calling him Edwin or Edmund.
    • There is an Elvis in Quantum of Solace and it's played straight, and without making an E Presley joke or impression anywhere. This was done on purpose.
    • In the French version of Harry Potter, Voldemort's middle name (and presumably his grandfather's name) is Elvis. This is so the "I am Lord Voldemort" anagram translates.
    • Just so you know, the Latin plural is Elvides. I have spoken. (–ii is the plural of –ius, and nothing else.)
  • When Madonna Ciccone's given name is that uncommon and that strongly associated with one person, many people assume "Madonna" must be a stage name.
    • However, Madonna remains a popular name in Catholic countries, since it's a reference to the Virgin Mary.
  • In Office Space one of the protagonist's buddies is named... Michael Bolton, complete with Lampshade Hanging:

Samir: Why don't you just go by Mike?
Michael: No way. Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks...

  • Reba McEntire is at the point in her career where, there are so few other Rebas anywhere, she named her own sitcom Reba and is usually listed as just "Reba" on the music charts. It's actually a very uncommon diminutive form of "Rebecca".
  • When Garth Brooks entered the country music scene in 1989, another singer whose real name was Douglas Jackson Brooks went by Doug Stone so as to avoid confusion. On the other hand, Brooks and Dunn had no problem.
  • Macarena was once a reasonably common girls name, particularly in Spain. In fact, the song was about a woman named Macarena. Nowadays, Macarena immediately calls the song and/or dance to mind.

Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Most of William Shakespeare's more famous characters are strictly off limits, and no one uses their names unless they intentionally mean to evoke those plays, Romeo being the worst offender.
    • Hamlet, Lear, Othello, Ophelia, Iago, Macbeth, Shylock, Romeo, etc. are hardly ever seen, except as shout outs, like the Iago in Aladdin or the Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth. Even though nowadays, if you mention "Iago", people are going to think of the parrot thanks to Disney's ubiquitousness.
      • Some of these names were unpopular, considered exotic or even unheard of before Shakespeare, though. "Shylock" seems to be completely made up, "Iago" was the Spanish form of a common enough name (James/Jacob). On the other hand some names became popularized by Shakespeare, for instance Cordelia, Imogen (Shakespeare's misspelling of "Innogen"), Horatio, Portia, Jessica (variant of "Iscah" from The Bible), Sylvia (before then, there was only the male name "Sylvan") and Miranda (invented for "The Tempest"). There is also another Ophelia, Jamie Lee Curtis' character in Trading Places; "Ophelia" also seems to be a 16th century poetic invention, though not by Shakespeare, but by Jacopo Sannazzaro. "Rosalind" got a big boost from being used by Shakespeare and Spenser.
      • Surprisingly, the name "Juliete"/"Juliet" is pretty common, even when there's yet another book with the name on the title.
    • "Othello" is also a common name for the board game "Reversi."

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • The Trope Namer is, of course, Mario. Outside of the Mario series you would be hard pressed to find a single video game use of the name that isn't a Shout-Out or a licensed game using the name of a real person/character from another medium. Luigi isn't that common either.
    • Assassin's Creed II features Mario Auditore, but lampshades the fact with his introduction - "Don't you recognize me? It's-a me, Mario!"
    • Looking up just "Mario" on Wikipedia goes to the article for the Mario. Even his brother shares this distinction.
    • There is an R&B singer who goes by the name Mario. Todd in the Shadows had a ball with it in the predictable way.
    • There's NFL wide receiver Mario Manningham, though on days he makes big plays, the sports commentators will always refer to him as "Super Mario".
    • And then, of course, is Mario Lemieux of NHL fame. His first year was 1984, the year in between the original Mario Bros. game and Super Mario Bros.. He, like Manningham, would gain the moniker "Super Mario".
  • A Zelda will probably never be a prominent character in a video game ever again. For that matter, neither will Link—sorry, guys named Lincoln.
  • If you ever play a game where naval ranks are present, you're not likely to ever see a warrant officer with the rank of Master Chief, ever again.

Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • A fictional universe example: in the web comic Jack, it's said that the titular character gave such a... specially strong... impression (being a genocidal dictator surely helps), that no one has had that name since his death, because everyone grew sick of that name and no one likes the connotations. And it was implied that it had happened several centuries since, so...

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Parodied in the "Asakura Hour" segment of Negima: The Abridged Series: almost every time the name "Asakura" is mentioned, the OP for Shaman King starts playing, much to the enragement of the host.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • There aren't many cartoon characters called Mickey. Or Donald.
    • Friends lampshaded this in episode 102, The One With the Sonogram:

Ross: How about the baby's name?
Carol: "Marlon" if it's a boy, "Minnie" if it's a girl.
Ross: ...as in, "Mouse"?
Carol: As in, my grandmother.
Ross: Still, you say "Minnie", you hear "Mouse".

Principal Skinner: There are no other Barts!

    • In an attempt to keep Homer Simpson away, one treehouse group (and later The Stonecutters) use this trope in Homer the Great:

Girl points to "NO HOMERS CLUB" sign.
Homer: But you let in Homer Glumplet!
Girl: It says "NO HOMERS." We're allowed to have one.

    • Even though the main character in October Sky was named Homer. They got away with it because 1. it took place in the 1950s. and 2. it was based on a true story and the guy's real name was Homer. Even by the 1980s, it was considered an old-fashioned name.
    • Xenogears got away with having a Bart, probably because the show is not as culturally significant over in Japan.
    • In fact, the name "Homer" is nowadays more associated with the character from "The Simpsons" who has a last name than with the writer whose name is just "Homer."
    • Simpsons-watching readers of Nathaniel West's novel The Day of the Locust will be surprised to find a character named Homer Simpson that pre-dates the TV Homer.
    • In India, you could probably get away with naming your kid Apu. But if you're an immigrant family wanting to give your child a traditional name, then you can forget about it, unless you want your kid taunted mercilessly for the rest of his life. Though a common name in India, no one trying to name an Indian character will even touch that came, because of the rampant "Thank you, come again!" jokes.
    • A superhero called Bart Allen made his debut in 1995, at the height of the Simpsons' popularity. It probably helps that superheroes are more often known by their superhero names than by their birth names.
  • Beavis may not be a real first name, but Bevis apparently is.
    • Bevis was, however, the name of the Lumberjack in Monty Python's Lumberjack Song.

Carol Cleveland: Oh, Bevis! And I thought you were so rugged!

    • It's also used as John Cleese' name in a sketch in How To Irritate People. Suffice to say, the Pythons are as delighted by "Bevis" as they are by "Figgis".
    • And Beavis is a real last name.
  • There aren't many animated Darias running around, either.
  • The Nostalgia Critic has remarked that he suffered a lot of teasing in school because he was named Doug.
  • Garfield. Either a fat cat, or our good old 20th president.
  • You don't see too many Ursulas anymore, especially with the negative connotations. It means "little she-bear". Except video games, as all Yang's daughter, a foxgirl and a Valkyrie nicknamed "The Blue Crow" share the name there. Note they're all from games originating from Japan, so they probably lack the limit there.
  • In Arabic-speaking countries, "Aladdin" (or, rather, its un-Anglicized form, Alā ad-Dīn, and its variants) seems to be largely unaffected by this trope. In English-speaking countries, however, it's almost always understood as a reference to the story (and, by extension, the Disney film). And if you name your kid "Ali" in the Western world (or even have it as a last name), you will have cursed him to forever be serenaded with "Prince Ali, fabulous he, Ali Abbabwah..."
    • You're unlikely to find a "Jafar" who isn't an Evil Vizier, though that isn't entirely Disney's fault.
  • Good luck with having the name Rudolph in real life, let alone in any fiction media.
    • Though at least one real-life Rudolph family takes this and runs with it: They're Jewish, but seem to have a large collection of Rudolph-themed items, including serving plates and drinking glasses (also hand towels). They also have golf balls with the image…and an entire country club in two states returns them, or used to do that…
  • Very few teenage girls in cartoons since 1970 have been named Velma or Daphne.
    • I don't think the name "Shaggy" has been associated with anyone else. Aside of the Scooby Doo character, only that reggae singer seems to be well known.
  • "Jorgen" has never exactly been a popular name, but you can't hear it without thinking of Jorgen Von Strangle from The Fairly OddParents.

Real Life[edit | hide]

Royalty[edit | hide]

  • There has been exactly one King John (Norman French: Jean) of England. It's considered a cursed name. King John's grandson, Edward I, named his firstborn son John, but the child died young. Edward II in turn named his own younger son John, and Edward III named one of his sons John (the famous 'John of Gaunt' of Shakespeare and Chaucer). John was a common name for English princes for centuries; it just so happened that none of the plethora of Johns inherited the throne (thus showing that non-Britons who learned all they "know" about King John from Robin Hood are quite wrong when they assume that John was so reviled that no future king would give his son that name).
    • The name John was actually avoided by Scottish royalty before the Union, ever since John Balliol, also known as Toom Tabard ('Empty Coat') after his public humiliation at the hands of Edward I. (The arms of Scotland were formally torn from John's surcoat by Edward, hence the name.) It's debatable whether he was a weak king or just unlucky, but he gained such hatred for his perceived caving in to Edward that the name was considered unlucky; Robert III actually changed his name from John to Robert to avoid having another King John.
  • For completely different reasons, you tend not to see any royalty named Arthur.
    • England came very close exactly once, however, Prince Arthur Tudor died before his father, Henry VII. (His younger brother Henry took the throne in his stead, and married Arthur's widow Catherine of Aragon to boot. You may have heard what became of him.)
    • England is also close now, though not as close as in the case of Arthur Tudor. One of Prince William's middle names is "Arthur", and he may chose that as his regnal name instead of "William" when he becomes king.
  • There has also only been one King Stephen (Étienne) of England. This may or may not have been due to the civil war known as the Anarchy.
  • There's not been any Queen Matildas since that time either, although to be fair half the women in England then seemed to share the name and maybe overkill led to its falling from popularity thereafter...?! And of course there haven't been a whole heap of women ascending the throne in total since, either. That said, there haven't been any kings married to a Matilda since then either; a Queen Consort named Matilda would still be called "Queen Matilda".
    • Matilda was an extremely popular name in Western Europe around the time of the Crusades, after which it fell into disuse, not just in England, but also in France and Germany.
  • The Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great remains evidently so very great that, 1100 years after his reign, no-one else has yet dared appropriate the name Alfred for monarchical use.
  • When Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, became king in 1901, he took the regnal name Edward VII so that the name Albert would only be associated with his father, the late Prince Consort. He did this in defiance of his mother Queen Victoria's wishes that all future kings would assume the name Albert [Something] upon taking the throne. Later, after the abdication of his grandson Edward VIII, the latter's brother Albert adopted the regnal name George VI in order to continue his grandfather's tradition of not using the title King Albert.
    • A similar-though-not-identical situation: though Edward VIII used his first baptismal name (Edward) as his regnal name, he was known within the family as "David," his last baptismal name, to avoid confusion with his grandfather.
  • Prince Harry was baptized Henry Charles Albert David; were he to become King he'd be faced with a weird choice: become Henry IX (bad for association with Henry VIII...), become Charles III or IV (depending on what his father does if he became King—Prince Charles is rumoured to prefer the name 'George VII' -- and if his father refuses to be Charles III, there'd be a good chance he'd avoid that too), become King Albert (a House of Windsor no-no), or become King David III (a nasty choice because of the association with Ed VIII, the fact that he'd be, well, King David, and the fact that, by House of Windsor policy, he'd have confuse everyone with the "III" bit, there having been two Kings of Scotland called David... It's a long story, but it involves Scottish nationalists getting pissy at referring to the current Queen as Elizabeth II, when the previous queen of that name ruled only England—in theory, future monarchs of the UK will follow on from the highest-numbered ruler of either England or Scotland to have used their name previously...). He's probably very happy he's probably going to be a "spare" and live out his life without succeeding to the throne (more likely now that big brother William is married).

Other[edit | hide]

  • You'd have a hard time running into somebody these days with the name of Walt.
    • This isn't the case with "Walter", though.
  • Happens all the time in real life whenever a tyrant makes big. Not too many Adolfs around these days, are there? Admittedly, part of the reason must be that the name was uncommon to begin with, thus strengthening the connection with the dictator. After all, the name "Iosif" or its equivalent forms "Joseph" and "Josef" have not been particularly associated with Stalin, Goebbels, or Mengele, nor very common German names like Heinrich and Herrmann, let alone Reinhard.
  • In Norway, the proportion of newborns named "Anders" has significantly decreased since the attacks in July 2011.
  • No Pope assumes the name Peter, primarily out of deference to the apostle Peter, generally considered the first Pope. The apocryphal Prophecy of Malachy also claims that Peter II will be the last pope before the end of times. Presumably none of them want to Tempt Fate.
    • Although the in all likelihood accidental fact that none of the early popes after Peter was christened Peter (the practice of taking one's name on the assumption of the papacy was first mentioned in the 6th century). The "Prophecy of Malachy" (first mentioned in the 16th century, ascribed to a 12th century monk) provides a list of 112 popes, the last of which is called Peter the Roman, so it would not have been a reason not to choose a man called Peter pope or for a pope not to take the name Peter on accession if he would not have been No. 112 on a list of popes starting with the first one mentioned in the "prophecy".
    • Note that this doesn't hold for Antipopes, people claiming to be the true pope without the support of the Vatican. Several of them have declared themselves Peter II.
  • Probably for that reason nobody outside Iberoamerican countries names children Jesus. Likely the only reason it's acceptable in those countries is that "Jesús" is the proper rendering of "Joshua" as well, meaning that there are multiple famous Jesuses in the Spanish Bible—hence, the name by itself is considered nothing too special. The primary name for him in Spanish is Jesucristo anyway. The tradition of using Latin in the Catholic church is likely to blame for Jesus himself not simply being known as Joshua elsewhere.
    • Except that's not true, Jesucristo is how Jesus Christ is pronounced and while both forms are often used, Jesus is the most common and there's almost no other character's name if any translated as Jesus. The name is still common is Latin american countries though.
    • Although it is not unheard of for Muslim men to be named Isa (the Arabic form of Joshua/Jesus) or Mohammad (and all the many variant spellings). It's not a big deal because neither Jesus nor Mohammad is considered divine, as Islam doesn't allow for anyone except Allah being divine. But Mohammad's prominence in the Qur'an is equal to that of Jesus in the New Testament.
  • Interestingly enough, for that same reason name Maria was not used in Poland until the 19th century.
    • Variants of "Mary" were actually not common anywhere in the Christian world until about the 12th century, since the name was considered too holy for normal use. Which is ironic, since once people started it basically became the most common girl's name ever.
  • If there's one name whose holder really made sure it would never be used again, it's Judas. (though some languages have the apostle Jude being called Judas Thaddeus... though people named after said saint receive lots of bullying)
    • Actually, the two share the same first name of "Judas" in the Greek text that the New Testament was written in. The apostle Jude is referred to as such because of the associations with Judas Iscariot, making it almost a retroactive example of this trope.
  • Not too common to see anyone named Cain either (at least, not without the letterK in it)
  • Similar to Judas, despite the names Michael, Gabriel etc etc being quite common, Lucifer is not, for some mysterious reason. The name itself is fine - it sounds nice, means "Lightbringer"/"Morning Star", can be shortened to Lucy or Luke - but just because it's associated with this one chap...
    • He's not the only archangel whose name didn't catch on. Not many Uriels are around either, outside of The Elder Scrolls or the Ultramarines novels.
    • Not many Remiels, Sandalphons, or Camiels either. Worth noting that "Lucifer" was a title, not the name of the (Fallen) Angel, which was apparently "Samael" (Possibly... the names of angels were all titles of one type or another, usually meaning "The [Adjective/Noun] of God" in the original Hebrew and so the same "name" could be used to describe different angels depending on the author of the text, with very few uniquely referring to a single alleged individual).
  • Two Japanese emperors having the same name is rare, three is completely unheard of. In Japan, the Emperor is never referred to by his name when alive, he is always, "His Majesty the Emperor". Once he is dead, he gets another name (as is customary in Buddhism), and the time of his reign is known as his era. The emperor during World War II is known to the rest of the world as Hirohito, but when alive in Japan he was simply "The Emperor" and now is known as Emperor Shōwa; consequently, his reign (1926 to 1989) is the Shōwa era. (Which is why it's referenced in Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei).
  • You're unlikely to see very many people named Oprah who aren't a homage to the overly influential talk show host. Her name is actually a misspelling of the biblical figure Orpah, which isn't a common name either.
  • The creator of Woods for The Trees is named Thom Jones. He has mentioned that he's been pulled over by officers who thought he was lying when he gave his name. He could easily just say "Thomas Jones" in those situations and most people wouldn't even make the connection right away, but his response to such a suggestion would be the same as Office Spaces Michael Bolton above.
  • It's been many decades since the death of Marilyn Monroe, and the name "Marilyn" is still associated with almost nobody else (Marilyn Manson, of course, took its name from her screen name).
  • The name Oscar fell out of favor for a very long time once the famous dandy was sentenced to two years of hard labor for being a homosexual, though most people nowadays associate the name "Oscar" with "Oscar the Grouch" and the Academy Awards. (in Brazil, there's also a basketballer) And hot dogs.
  • Benedict Arnold was a traitor to the colonies in The American Revolution. No one in America names their son Benedict. Unless they're Catholic, and naming him after Saint Benedict.
    • And across the Pond it's undoubtedly experiencing an upswing in favor due to a certain fellow.
  • A handful of hurricane names are retired every year if the storms are bad enough. Hence, there will never be another Katrina. Though it's been proven that hurricane names are often popular choices for newborns. After the hurricane, the name "Katrina" became very popular for newborn girls, especially in Louisiana of all places.
    • Other retired hurricane names like "Andrew" and "Hugo" will forever be associated with the destructive hurricane, but when they are just mentioned, they will just be thought of as names. However, the name Katrina will forever be associated with the hurricane and not a girl's name.
  • "Mercedes" is actually a pretty Spanish girl's name that means "mercy". The car company was named after the owner's daughter. As with Portia, good luck with trying to convince people you didn't name your kid after a car.
    • Although, you could justify the name Portia by saying that it's a reference to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.
    • Or Mercedes could be a reference to Dumas, and in any Hispanic culture it will be widely accepted as a normal name. It is pronounced closer to "Mehr-seh-dez," than "Mer-say-dees."
      • Except that in the company's home country Germany, everyone used the Spanish pronunciation.
  • No one will be using the name "Clark" anytime soon. Let alone Clark Kent