Only One Name

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Like all three of the above examples, these are often Names to Run Away From Really Fast
"My name is Ennis... Just Ennis."

The character or characters go by a single name, with no family/clan/whatever identifier. Unlike No Name Given, it's not that their full name is never made known to the viewer. The full name simply does not exist. Cher is an oft-cited example.

Truth in Television for most of history. Bynames, epithets, and family names were used only when necessary to distinguish between people with the same name. In much of the world, having multiple names (for non-royalty) is a relatively recent invention.

Contrast I Have Many Names. Compare Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep" for an extreme example.

Not to be confused with the similar-sounding First-Name Basis or Only Known by Their Nickname.

Examples of Only One Name include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The entire cast of Simoun is from a culture that gives Only One Name.
  • Caren, Coco, Noel, Sara and, actually, most characters of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch have only one name; the exceptions are the main trio and the men in their lives (although, in the manga, Hamasaki has only one name too).
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Sakaki is only known by that name, to the extent that, in the first episode, when everybody is introduced by their full name (including Osaka), she's simply introduced as "Sakaki-san, a.k.a. Sakaki-san".
    • Kagura gets this treatment too. Whether Kaorin has a family name depends on what part of Fanon you want to believe. Chihiro doesn't even get that much (and is very secondary.)
      • The DVD cases seem to suggest that this is less Only One Name and more Last-Name Basis, at least as far as Sakaki and Kagura are concerned.
  • Rezo the Red Priest of Slayers, only known by his title. His great-grandson Zelgadis was this initially; however, his surname (Graywords) got mentioned in an interview with the creator, and it eventually gets mentioned several times. Also played straight with villains and minor characters.
  • Amon of Witch Hunter Robin, and even that might just be his Code Name, as he's usually described to the cast rather than named.
  • Delilah and Liddell
  • Kyon of Suzumiya Haruhi, who, despite complaining about being reduced to a single nickname several times, never gives his full name.
  • Van in Gun X Sword is just Van. Instead of a surname he has a number of nicknames, some compliments and some not (his favorite is "Van of the Dawn"). In point of fact, there are only six characters with surnames given through the entire series: William Will Wo, Ray and Joshua Lundgren, Carul Mendoza (she prefers to go by Carmen99), and Michael and Wendy Garret.
  • In Naruto, Sai does not have a family name, since "Sai" was the alias given to him for his mission to join Team 7.
    • Gaara and his siblings Kankuro and Temari don't seen to have a last name. Some people use "of the Sand" like a last name (though that was apparently just Gaara's title/nickname) or just call them the Sand Siblings.
    • In fact, it's easier to list the non-Leaf village ninja that do have last names (the Seven Swordsmen of the Mist beside Chojuro, the first team of Sound nin, and according to an artbook the Mizukage, who's named Mei Terumi). Even in the Leaf village (not counting Sai and Yamato, which are code names) there's the Sannin (despite it being her grandfather's name, Senju is not Tsunade's), Rock Lee (unless Rock and Lee are really his first and last name), and Tenten.
    • There's little consistency in who gets a name either as Haruno Sakura and Rock Lee presumably do not come from a clan, while 3 of the 4 living kages have no last name either. This seems tied to how everyone in Naruto is on a First-Name Basis, even to the point of using Honorifics like -sensei and -sama with first names, so it's possible a lot of character just haven't had their last names revealed (it took 200 chapters for Danzo's last name of Shimura to be revealed, and we didn't find out Dan's last name was Kato until 374 chapters after we first saw him). (Incidentally, both Dan and Danzo are based on the real life ninja Kato Danzo, and thus only have one of his names).
  • Hevn and Makubex in GetBackers. With the latter, it actually becomes something of a plot point that he doesn't know what his given name is—or if he ever even had one in the first place. All they know is that he was found in a bag with "Makube" printed on it; later, people that knew and admired his skills added an 'x' to express the unknown. Thus, Makubex.
  • The Leafe Knights from Prétear have an excuse of not being from our world, but even outside their Magical Land they don't seem to use last names. No one in human world seems to care.
  • A good number of Artificial Humans in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, such as Arf, Signum, and Vita. Vivio used to be an example, until Nanoha officially adopted her and she received the Takamachi name. An exception to the rule comes with Aria Lieze and Lotte Lieze, Admiral Graham's twin familiars.
    • After StrikerS, four of the Numbers Cyborgs were adopted by Genya Nakajima and took his family name, with the rest remaining with only one name.
  • Kyu from Tantei Gakuen Q never has a last name mentioned in the show, neither does his mother. Supposedly, this is because the indentity of his father is a secret; however one does think that if he has his father's last name, this would make it pretty NON-secret and thus he must have a DIFFERENT one that he and his mother actually use.
  • Absolutely no one had a last name in the beginning of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. Apparently surnames were a practice abandoned After the End. They do get them after the Time Skip, though, taking them from their villages' names (Kittan Bachika, Rossiu Adai, Yoko Littner, Nia Teppelin).
    • Simon, however, remains as just Simon, possibly because either he didn't like his village, or because even without a surname, everyone knows what Simon they're talking about. Like-wise Kamina.
  • Poked at at the end of the manga Eerie Queerie. In the omake afterwards the two characters decide that they can finally call each other by their given names, only for Hasanuma's name to be * bleeped* out. And thus he remains with only one name.
  • Ennis is the only character with no last name in Baccano!! she being an Homunculus made by Szilard Quates.
    • The light novels reveal that she eventually does acquire a last name after a number of decades: Prochainezo
  • No one in Hidamari Sketch has two names.
  • Kino of Kino's Journey. It's not even their original name, but one adopted from another traveler.
  • Several denizens of the Magic World in Mahou Sensei Negima, including every one of the Canis Niger bounty hunters and Fate, whose real name is Tertium.
  • Black Star from Soul Eater. Apparently, every one in his family (the Star Clan) is only named by a colour and "Star", even though it could be as though his first name is "Black", and his last name is "Star", it's unlikely, seeing as nobody ever calls him "Black", or "Star".
    • Also, Death the Kid, being a younger Death.
  • Everyone in Princess Tutu. Mytho, Ahiru/Duck/Ente, and Rue probably doesn't even have last names, and the characters whose last names are known (Cat, Drosselmeyer) aren't given first names.
    • Well, on Drosselmeyer's grave we're given "D.D. Drosselmeyer", so we know his name starts with a D...but that's the closest we ever get to a full name on the show.
  • In Axis Powers Hetalia most nations have human names which are not entirely canon (they're never used in the actual manga/anime or by the creator except for two dubious instances in strips, and they originated from saved text from the author's deleted site blog), but very popular in the fandom because many fans are uncomfortable with using the actual country names. The human names are all composed of first, last, and sometimes middle names except for Germany, known only as Ludwig. Most fans borrow his 'brother' Prussia's surname Beilschmidt.
    • Some fan names are mistaken for (the semi-) canon by the fans. For example, Yekaterina "Kastyusha" Braginskaya (which was inspired by Russia and by Yekaterina being a popular Slavic girls' name), is often used by fanfic authors. As well, "Matthias Køhler", a fan-name for Denmark, was mistaken by fans as an actual name after it was posted on the character page for Hetalia at TV Tropes. Officially, all the characters pretty much go by their nations' popular names, which are almost all Only One Name (i.e. England, America, Canada, Denmark, Ukraine, France, Germany, Italy (for both Italies), China, Japan, etc.).
      • The Italy brothers could actually be considered a subversion, as they are both called Italy but also have their own given names to differentiate them: the northern half is Italy Veneziano (human name Feliciano Vargas), and the southern Italy Romano (Lovino Vargas). Interestingly, though Southern Italy is almost always called Romano, Northern Italy is usually called just Italy.
    • At one point the human names were considered to be somewhat canon, as Himaruya answered a fan question and said that they would find out one day why Ludwig didn't have a surname. But as it was an old question on the deleted blog and the names have not been ever officially used, it remains unknown if that "significance" will ever come to light.
  • All of the demons in Chrono Crusade have only one name—Chrono, Aion, Shader, etc. However, it seems most of them have at least one title tacked on, like "The Sinner" or "The Slayer of a Hundred".
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog OVA, Sara's last name is never given. Her dad is only referred to as Mr. President.
  • The aliens in Niea_7 only appear to have one name, including the show's eponymous character.
  • Many characters in One Piece have only one name, including Usopp, Nami, Sanji, Kaya, Nojiko, Bellemere, Chaka, Pell, Dr. Hiruluk, Burgess, Professor Clover, Pagaya, Conis, Enel, Hotori/Kotori/Satori/All of the priests/every Angel except Gan Fall...
    • This becomes jarring when other characters get wanted posters. Money D. Luffy, Roranoa Zoro, Nico Robin, Tony-Tony Chopper, and... just Nami? It's as if the Marines pick and choose when to find out their full names.
      • Possibly justified for Nami and Sanji being orphans and all, Usopp was given a bounty under his Sogeking alias and Franky's real name is Cutty Flam.
  • Kiddy Grade: "What's my name?" "Éclair." "Éclair WHAT??" "Just Éclair." Also applies to pretty much the entire cast (though Alv seems to get a surname in the spin-off).
  • The title character of Eureka Seven. In Alternate Universe Movie one screen says her last name (which she probably had as she spent a good part of her life among the general populace) is "Zita".
    • Given that "Zita" literally means "seven" in English, Eureka Zita = Eureka Seven
  • Most of the characters in Dragonball Z only have one name.
  • Elfen Lied has this with its entire cast, with the two exceptions of Mariko Kurama and Anna Kakuzawa.
  • Yuki in SEX, because of his Identity Amnesia. His Distaff Counterpart, the female assassin Yuki also goes by only one name (and is often referred to as Female Yuki).
  • Most of the cyborgs of Gunslinger Girl have only one name, a deliberate choice on the part of their handlers due to the difficulty some of them have in making the girls into killers, but have no wish to easily dismiss them because of such. Jose and Hilshire gave their cyborgs female names (Henrietta and Triela, respectively) and, despite initial discomfort, try to connect to them on personal levels, while other handlers give their cyborgs are given boy's names (Rico, Petrushka and Claes) to help them keep some emotional distance and make their reconciling with what they're doing a bit easier.
    • One exception to this is Elsa De Sica who, despite having a full, non gender-blended name has less behind it. Her handler, Lauro simply had to call her something and the first thing that came to his head when he stopped to think about it was the name of the park he was walking through at the time. Elsa's name is precious to her - in addition to being a "gift" from her handler, it's the keystone that maintains her very sense of self and describes her as a person, not a latterday golem, whose struggles have meaning. The realisation that that self is merely a dismissive and indifferent token destroys her, literally.
    • Petrushka doesn't quite fit that criteria as Alessandro didn't give too much thought in naming her, but he easily accepted her identity as a cyborg with little problems, thanks in part to his rather flexible morals and views carried over from his previous duties as a spy, and has grown to care for her to the point that they're romantically involved.
  • Almost everybody in Queen's Blade minus Leina Vance, her sisters, and Annelotte from the sequel Queen's Blade Rebellion (her last name is Kreuz, but never used in-universe).
  • Tetsu from Cardfight Vanguard has nothing other than that name listed in Team AL4's roster.
  • Strangely, in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Simon and Kamina are only known by their first names, not as "Simon Jiha" or "Kamina Jiha" (everyone else uses their village name as a surname, such as Yoko Littner, Rossiu Adai, or Kittan Bachika).
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, demons apparently don't have surnames (with one notable exception being Saotome Jorge/George, Koenma's blue ogre). Even if they have more than one name, it tends to be a title i.e. "Jaganshi" Hiei and "Yoko" Kurama (except for the English dub, in which Yoko is his "true" name). For the Uraotogi team, the two names are their name and an adjective that describes their corruption, rather than being a surname and given name, i.e. Kuro Momotaro = Black Momotaro, and Ura Urashima = Reverse Urashima (though Ura Urashima later reveals that his, and likely the rest of his teammate's names are mere pseudonyms in an attempt to deceive others into believing they are demonic reincarnations of folk heroes).
  • Shakugan no Shana:
    • The titular character's name is just "Shana", and she didn't have even that before Yuuji named her after her sword. Which is strange, as all other Flame Hazes have full names.
    • Most (if not all) Crimson Denizens have only one name. Semi-justified by them being not human.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Although his gangster pursuers refer to him as "The Stooge", the protagonist of Paul Pope's graphic novel, Heavy Liquid, is generally known as "S". "Why have a name when a letter will do?"
  • Tintin. BTW, in the German translation his name becomes Tim. Which is a first name in Germany too, but people still call him "Herr Tim". Two First Names?
  • Lyra and Skaar, from Incredible Hulk.
  • Marvel also gives us Thundra, Lyra's mother.
  • When the Metal Men got human secret identities towards the end of their original run, Tin and Mercury's identities were known only as "Tinker" and "Mercurio".
  • Comic book versions of characters from mythological pantheons usually go by one name, as do "new" gods or godlike beings created for the comics. Such as The New Gods, The Eternals, The Inhumans, etc.
  • Rudi's last name, if he has one at all, is never revealed. Even his doctor only calls him "Herr... er... Rudi".
  • The vast majority of Elf Quest characters have only one name, justified in that they live in small tribal groups. Last names really only crop up with humans later in the timeline.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Another good (and famous) example is Palpatine, the main villain from the Star Wars films. If he has another name, it hasn't been given (canonically, at least).
    • Same applies to Yoda, Chewbacca and prequel-villain Count Dooku.
  • The majority of the sidekick cadre in Sky High don't have last names. One of the lesser characters is also even credited to a pair of Only One Name actresses (Malika and Khadijah).
  • The roles played by Chico and Harpo Marx usually had Only One Name, whereas Groucho's characters usually had two names and a middle initial. An exception is Animal Crackers, where Chico is "Signor Emmanuel Ravelli" and Harpo is just the "Professor".
  • Withnail, of course.
  • Swan ("he has no other name"), Beef and Phoenix from Phantom of the Paradise. Winslow Leach and Arnold Philbin are generally referred to as Winslow and Philbin respectively.
  • Parodied in The Dinner Game: a character is actually named Just Leblanc, leading another to wonder: "Really? He doesn't have a first name?"
  • Superbad - It's just McLovin!
  • Lampshaded in Payback, when Val Resnick's boss is trying to learn about Porter, the Villain Protagonist Determinator that is looking for revenge on Resnick. When Resnick's boss asks for Porter's first name, Val tries to think for a few seconds before being forced to admit that he doesn't know and has never heard Porter referred to as anything else. (Even Porter's Love Interest refers to him solely as Porter).
  • Nathaniel in Enchanted. Even when he writes a book, the author's name is listed only as "Nathaniel".
  • Although his full name, Irwin M. Fletcher, is mentioned, the titular character usually insists on being called Fletch.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Likewise, in The Lord of the Rings, most humans only have a given name and a patronymic. Aragorn, for example, is "Aragorn, son of Arathorn".
    • Eragon does this too with the people of Carvahall. Roran is "Roran Garrowsson".
    • Which is the way it is or was done in many real societies. See "Iceland" in Real Life below.
  • Aiel in the Wheel of Time have only one name (when announced formally, they specify their clan and sept too, though). They call non-Aiel by their full names all the time, and are confused when they want to be called by only half their name.
  • Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
  • Everyone from the anarcho-communist planet Anarres in The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin had only one name randomly assigned by a computer.
  • Lampshaded in one of the Pendragon books, where Bobby says something to the effect of, 'What is it with these people? Am I the only one with two names?"
    • He does it again when he goes to another territory where people only have one name. Something like, "How far along does a society have to get before they start handing out last names?"
    • The people on less advanced planets (Denduron, Zadaa, Eelong) have Only One Name, and on more advanced planets (Earth, Cloral, Veelox, Quillan) they have two.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, those born as commoners in Westeros rarely have last names, leading to many characters without them.
    • Not just them. Septons (priests) and Maesters (order of scholars) discard their family name and the High Septon (head of the clergy) discards even his given one.
  • Chiun from the Destroyer books, although he did change his name from Nuihc.
  • The novel Catch-22 throws a twist on this: the squadron commander has a first, middle and last name. However, they're all the same, and thanks to an IBM machine with a "sense of humor almost as keen as his father's", so is his rank. His name? Major Major Major Major.
  • Rincewind from Discworld. Once, he says that he doesn't know whether he has a first name. (His Fourecks counterpart is named Bill Rincewind, suggesting that Rincewind is his surname.)
  • In Iain M. Banks' Against a Dark Background, protagonist Sharrow, as a member of the highest level of aristocracy, has only a single name, while lower social classes have more names.
  • Maximum Ride of er... Maximum Ride is the only human-avian to have a surname in the first book. In Book Two Iggy finds his family and consequently, a last name but he abandons them because they want to sell his story.
  • In The Giver, everybody has only one name (and a serial number).
  • The quaddies from Lois McMaster Bujold's Falling Free, being artificial people, didn't actually have names as such, just appelations derived from their serial numbers like "Tony" or "Claire." Some of these are unusual ("Silver") and some are downright odd ("Pramod".) Later in Diplomatic Immunity it's revealed that so many babies have been named after these founding heroes (there's over two hundred people named "Promod" alone) that later generations were forced to adopt a numberig scheme just to keep them all straight
  • Pasquinel from Centennial.
  • In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno, the title characters. Lady Muriel in fact asks, and is told no family name.
  • In The Color Purple Albert's last name is never revealed, and Celie just calls him Mister ____.
  • Garrett from Garrett P.I. only has the one name. It's apparently his last one.
    • Presumably he does have a first name, as we know his brother had one (Mikey). Glen Cook's just avoided revealing it to tease his readers.
  • In Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books, the titular character's father is referred to only as "Colonel Next". It is revealed that he actually has no first name, due to having been erased from the timeline by the Chronoguard after he went rogue.
  • Not a single character in The Tiger's Wife has their surname revealed.
  • In Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, the main character Pip is raised by his sister and her husband Joe, but the sister's given name is never mentioned. She is referred to only as "Mrs. Joe".
    • This is a common device of Dickens', used to dehumanise his villains, e.g. Fagin, Mr. Smallweed, etc.
    • Mrs. Joe's name is mentioned once late in the book. It's Georgiana M'ria (Maria, presumably.)
  • The detective Spenser, from the series by Robert B. Parker. Anytime someone asks, Spenser simply replies with "Spenser." One time, when questioned if that was his first or last name, Parker writes the line "I told her."
  • The protagonist of the Polish YA series Pan Samochodzik is only ever referred to as Tomasz. His last two initials are N.N., which could be a reference to his author's last name and pen name (Nowicki-Nienacki), or the abbreviation for the Latin nomen nescio ('name unknown').
  • The title character of Lovejoy is never given a first name. In the TV series adapted from the books, it is hinted that his name may be "Malcolm", but he does not confirm or deny this.
  • Literally hundreds of characters in War and Peace. Zherkov, Raevsky, Tikhon, Speransky, Pfuel, etc. Most of the historical characters are only referred to with one name (such as General Mack and Marshals Murat and Davout) since Tolstoy probably assumed anyone reading this book in 1870 would recognize the names from history lessons.
  • Street Urchin Fred "No-Name" in Avi's Beyond the Western Sea.
  • Almost everyone in Uglies, save for Tally Youngblood and Andrew Simpson Smith. Most of the Extras characters get last names, but we still never learn the last names of the characters from the original trilogy who show up. Dr. Cable is also only ever Dr. Cable, and David may not actually have a last name.
  • Lucretia from Bystander
    • For twice your pleasure, at least one of the bad guys refers to her as "bystander" rather than her given name.
  • And who can forget Elizabeth from House Of Night, who literally named herself 'Elizabeth No Last Names' because she couldn't be bothered to come up with a new last name? Hell, this trope might as well be named after her!
  • Al Donza, with "Al" being a prefix like Don, only Al Donza is her real name, and Don Quixote isn't his.
  • The title character of the Montmorency books never gave himself a first name when he concocted either of his two aliases, Montmorency and Scarper. For a while, people at his club thought the former identity's first name was "Xavier", but that was from someone mishearing "savior".
  • In Death: Roarke. This is his family name; his father is named Patrick Roarke. Nora Roberts has stated that she will never, ever reveal what his given name is.
  • Waco from the novels of J. T. Edson. He was orphaned as a baby when his family was killed in a raid by the Waco indian tribe, which is what he takes his name from.
  • Laurent in Therese Raquin. We're never told if that's his first or last name.
  • Quite a few in Ranger's Apprentice, most notably Will (until book 6/7) and Halt (until book 8).
  • Counselors and Kings doesn't give the family name for Zalathorm, nor was it in any Sourcebook before D&D3.5 Shining South, nor is it known from the dynasty, since Halruaa is The Magocracy and Netyarch is not a hereditary position. As one fan reasoned,

Wizards don't need surnames once they've gotten good enough at what they do. And the same goes for kings, but without the bit about being good at what they do being necessary. And seeing as Zalathorm is both...

  • Several characters in Sergey Lukyanenko's Line of Delirium only appear to have one name. This is justified in the case of Sedimin, the ruler of the Silicoids, as his name is synonymous with the title (the Foot of the Foundation), which he gained after becoming the ruler through Klingon Promotion. Not justified in the case of the human Emperor Grey. Nowhere in the trilogy is any other name mentioned. The Meklar also appear to only have one name, which tends to be written with an apostrophe or a slash (it's translated from machine code anyway). A Bulrathi named Ahhar is, at one point, calls himself Shivukim Ahhar, although Shivukim could be a Bulrathi title or honorific. The cyborg Andrey never reveals his last name; presumably, he feels he no longer needs one, as he is not human anymore. The famous weapons designer Martyzenski doesn't appear to have a first name. Then again, he only shows up in one scene.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • No one in the original Battlestar Galactica had a last name. (This has changed in the new Sci-Fi Channel version of Galactica; many of the original pilots' names are now the callsigns of their revised counterparts, and "Adama" has become a family name.)
  • Klingons in Star Trek may also have a Patronymic ("Worf, son of Mogh") and a House name ("Worf of the House of Mogh", later the House of Martok), but do not have true last names. Vulcans might be the same, depending on which set of contradictory evidence you prefer.
    • Then there's Chakotay.
    • We also have Data. And Odo. And Laas.
    • And Neelix. And Kes.
    • One episode of Star Trek: The Original Series claims Spock's last name cannot be pronounced by humans, but others seem to indicate he has no last name at all. Diane Duane's Spock's World speculates that Vulcans use patronymics, so Spock's full name, according to her, is "Spock cha'Sarek".
      • Actually, the name that couldn't be pronounced was merely called "another name" in one episode and "the Vulcan name" (implicitly the family name) in another. Since not all cultures put the family name last or even have family names in the Western sense, we don't know if Spock's unpronounceable name is his first or last name.
    • Similarly, Sulu's first name was not given in Star Trek canon until the 6th movie in the series. The name Hikaru actually came from one of the first published novels, The Entropy Effect.
    • Uhura's first name was unrevealed for a while, although the novels consistently use "Nyota." The new movie confirmed this.
    • On Star Trek: The Next Generation, O'Brien didn't get a last name until his third appearance, and didn't get a first (and middle) name, Miles Edward, until three years after his first appearance. Of course, he's an Ascended Extra, so it's excusable.
    • Don't forget the Vorta, none of whom have family names. Understandable, as they don't have families, but they do each get a number tacked on to their name, so that's something.
    • None of the named Romulans (e.g. Sela, Donatra, Tel'Aura, Tomalak) appears to have a last name. Given that they're an offshoot of Vulcans, this may be justified. However, at least one non-canon novel has a character refer to a Romulan by name. Specifically, Captain John Harriman (the inept captain of the Enterprise-B, whom the book turned into a Badass) purposefully calls Admiral Vokar by his first name Aventeer, knowing the latter would perceive it as an insult.
  • Teal'c in Stargate SG-1. For that matter, most of SG-1's aliens do not have family names.
    • However, this is averted in Stargate Atlantis, where most aliens, including regulars Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex, do have first and last names. This raises an interesting question: how is it that Earth alone uses a naming system unheard of in the Milky Way galaxy but commonplace in the Pegasus Galaxy?
      • Well, the majority of the humans in the Milky Way were ruled, and thus had their cultures influenced by, the Goa'uld, whereas the Pegasus Galaxy and post-Goa'uld Earth were more influenced by the Ancients. That could be one way of hand waving the entire problem.
      • Except most Ancients in the show don't have last names, either.
      • A lot do. The first one SG-1 meets is Oma Desala. The first one the Atlantis team meets is Chaya Sar. The one SG-1 meets in Atlantis is Ganos Lal, aka Morgan le Fay.
  • The main character on Dark Angel was named Max, with no last name (she did use the last name Guevara on occasion, but she made this up). Her fellow X5s (Zack, Alec, Ben, etc) also had only one name, as did the dogboy Joshua. Alec's fake surname was supposedly McDowell, but it was never spoken aloud.
  • All the main characters on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia have full names except for Mac. For seven seasons, it was not known whether Mac is a first name, last name, or a nick name, and his mother is often addressed as "Mrs. Mac" to keep the gag running. The season seven finale eventually revealed his name to be Ronald McDonald.
  • Doctor Who:
    • Adric, Nyssa and Romanadvoratrelundar (Romana for short) in the old series. Although the Doctor did once refer to the latter as 'Miss Dvoratrelundar', her name is always written as one word.
    • In the new series, the Doctor's daughter Jenny has no surname. Unless it's "Who".
    • The televised series never revealed the surnames of the Doctor's companions Vicki, Polly and Ace. Production documents give Polly's surname as "Wright"; in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe Vicki's surname is Pallister, and Ace's is either Gale or McShane (or possibly both). (Gale appeared in production documents, with the notes that they might want to change it, depending on the plot requirements of the story in which the reveal occurred, if it happened at all.) (The name "Dorothy Gale" references The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.)
    • The Doctor Who Magazine comic gives us Destriianatos (Destrii for short).
    • The Big Finish Doctor Who audios give us C'rizz and Erimemushinteperem (Erimem for short).
  • Most alien-but-still-human-ish Power Rangers, such as Andros and Karone, or Maya. Time Force's resident alien, Trip, has a very popular Fanon last name purported to come from scripts or casting sheets, but unlike other such surnames (e.g., Billy Cranston, Katie Walker), it wasn't included on Disney's official website.
    • Speaking of Billy Cranston and Katie Walker, it is very common for Rangers to be known only by first names, and some Rangers' last names are only known by Word of God in the form of network websites (that are often wrong about things like last names, ages, and dates when we finally do get them - even Cranston and Walker come from the same source as Sky Blake and Jack and Z Manners [1]) We didn't get "Zack Taylor" and "Trini Kwan" until the day of their departure, and had heard "Jason Lee Scott" once before. Tommy Oliver and Kimberly Hart, the first last names we get, are heard a mere 54 episodes into the original series! And again, though his tenure lasted 202 episodes, we never heard Billy's. Last names weren't deliberately avoided, just... if nobody had a good reason to speak it (martial arts tournament, TV appearance, etc.) it didn't get spoken.
    • Power Rangers Samurai is following in MMPR's footsteps. Presumably the site has it, but unless being in the Shiba House makes Jayden's last name Shiba, we only know one last name out of six from the series itself (Antonio Garcia.)
  • Wilson W. Wilson Jr. from Home Improvement. He's called by Only One Name, because that is his only name - first, middle and last.
  • James Ford on Lost goes by the alias Sawyer. It's never clearly stated if Sawyer is his fake first name or fake last name.
    • Though Jacob probably has a last name, no one has bothered to say what it is after five seasons. This is probably because he's someone's father or relative, in typical Lost fashion.
      • The season 5 finale show us that that would be someone's great-great-great-great-great-uncle. Or, you know, that he was born before people had proper last names.
    • Libby never got a last name on Lost. For a long time this prompted fan speculation that she was actually related to another character, but now it seems to have been Shrug of God. A memorial video shown at Comic Con 2009 gave her name as Elizabeth 'Libby' Smith.
  • The title character from Gilligan's Island during its run. After the show was cancelled, Word of God revealed that his first name was Willy.
  • Purdy from The New Avengers.
  • Ned from Pushing Daisies doesn't seem to have a last name. Neither of the people related to him seem to, either, in contrast with the narrator's habit of referring to everyone by their full names. It's not even clear what 'Ned' is an abbreviation of. Most likely it's Edward, but it could also be Edmond, Edgar or even Eddard.
    • Or it could just be "Ned"....
  • Parker, in Leverage, is the only character who isn't given a first name, even in her official character bio. This does make sense in the canon, however - she ran away from home (or something) and spent most of her childhood in and out of foster homes. It's implied that she eventually just ran away and became a thief, and that she doesn't need a full name because she lives off the grid.
    • May be a shout-out to the title character in Richard Stark's Parker crime novels, who also is a thief and also has just the one name.
  • Baldrick in Blackadder is only known by this name, regardless of which incarnation he is. However, Baldrick speculates in the third series that his first name may be 'Sodoff' and in the fourth season was known as Private S. Baldrick.
  • Kendra of Buffy the Vampire Slayer tells Giles that she "has no last name" in the second episode she appears in. However, this has been subverted as Joss Whedon has subsequently revealed, outside of the series, that her surname is actually Young - which she didn't know as she was raised by her Watcher.
    • Other Buffy Verse characters with no last names include Faith, Spike, and Angel. Spike was revealed to be a self-given alias, his first name being William, and Faith was revealed to have the last name of Lehane by Joss Whedon when the makers of the official spin-off RPG asked. Angel turned out to have a different first name (Liam, which is an Irish version of "William"), but no last was ever given. Spike's human surname, according to Expanded Universe, is Pratt.
    • Buffyverse Vampires, some of whom take or are given new names are fond of this trope, including aforemention Angel and Spike, as well as Drusilla, Penn, Luke, and Dracula.
    • None of the Potential Slayers are given a last name, not even Kennedy.
  • Kids Incorporated: Almost no one on this show has a last name, sometimes awkwardly so, such as in "The Hero" where Devyn is introduced on an interview show by her first name, with an audible pause because the interviewer's rhythm was thrown off by the lack of a last name. On several occasions, particularly in dream sequences, a character will give an obviously fake last name (Ryan Lambert once uses "Ryan Ryan", and once "Ryan von Ryan"). Since most characters were The Danza, it may be implicit that they have the same surnames as their actors, though this wouldn't work for, say, Renee Sands and Stacy Ferguson, whose characters were siblings.
  • Niles, the butler from The Nanny, even lampshades this at one point:

Fran: Say, what is your last name?
Niles: It's just Niles. Like Cher.

  • The eponymous character of Angel usually goes simply by Angel. When he's evil he tends to go with the variant Angelus. Either way, it's only one name. His original human name was Liam, surname never mentioned.

Kate Lockley: Well, see, the thing about detectives is they have resumes and business licenses and last names. Pop stars and Popes, those are the one-name guys.
Angel: You got me. I'm a pope.

    • In Season 3, the Angel Investigations staff at one points needs to write down a full name for him on a government document, so they improvise "Geraldo Angel."
  • Cromartie in The Sarah Connor Chronicles is one of these. They even lampshade it in his very first scene.

Cromartie: Mister Ferguson is ill today. My name is Cromartie.
Student: Is that your only name, like Madonna?
Cromartie: Madonna? Why? No.

  • On Seinfeld, Newman's first name is never mentioned at all, even on his business card. And for a long time Kramer was this, until the episode revealing his first name is Cosmo.
  • Lt. Columbo (No first name)
    • Same for Mrs. Columbo.
      • Not exactly true: Kate Mulgrew's series Mrs. Columbo became Kate Columbo, then Kate the Detective and then Kate Loves a Mystery before it became Kate Doesn't Detect Here Anymore.
        • And then Lt. Columbo said that that woman was an impostor...so we re-iterate, same for Mrs. Columbo.
    • His ID card identified him as Frank Columbo, but that was only onscreen for a few seconds and reportedly isn't canon.
  • Paris on Mission Impossible. Amusingly Paris was played by Leonard Nimoy, famous for playing the above single named character.
    • Paris had occasion to say, "He's dead, Jim."
  • Inspector Morse in the television version. The source novels provided only an initial, E. Name eventually revealed as 'Endeavour'.
    • In his university days, he was nicknamed "Pagan", because he wouldn't give his Christian name.
  • The family's last name is never given on Malcolm in the Middle—almost. In the pilot episode, the name tag on Francis' military school uniform read "Wilkerson." The decision not to reveal the family's last name was made during production of the pilot, but apparently they missed Francis' name tag. However, the series finale provides a different last name for the family. During Malcolm's graduation ceremony, Francis drops an employee ID card, the last name on which reads "Nolastname". It was also a joke amongst those who worked on the show that the family's last name WAS "Nolastname".
  • Jarod, the lead character of The Pretender, adopts a different surname each episode. Initially, this is because he doesn't know his real surname, but even after he locates and spends time with his father, his real surname is never revealed. (This sometimes causes dialogue clunkiness, not so much with Jarod as with his father, who is referred to as "Major Charles" always, by everyone, in all contexts.)
    • Then there's Miss Parker, who is never given a name. Fan speculation has given us the possibility of "Angel", her father's nickname for her, being her actual name.
    • Not to mention Sydney and Lyle, who only go by their first names, and Broots, who only goes by his last name.
    • In fact, almost all of the major characters in The Pretender go by one name only, the one exception being Mr. Raines, who eventually turned out to be a William. Several of these characters go to remarkable lengths to keep their names secret -- Corrupt Corporate Executive Mr Parker, for instance, somehow managed to persuade the celebrant of his on-screen wedding to leave his full name out of the vows—leading some to suspect that the writers themselves don't actually know what their names are.
  • Mr. Chapel's first name is never revealed in Vengeance Unlimited. Though the likelihood of Chapel itself being a pseudonym is rather high in this regard.
  • Green Wing never reveals the first names of Dr. MacCartney or Boyce.
  • The title character of Mr. Bean is never given a first name, perhaps because it is heavily implied by the opening credits that he is an alien. The spin - off book Mr Bean's Diary contains an old school report of his, but his first name is obscured by an ink blot on the page.
  • Harris in Sharpe is never given a first name. This is Lampshaded in Sharpe's Waterloo - Hagman, who has served with him for years and presumably knows him very well, asks "So what is your first name?"
  • In a Friends episode, Rachel can't remember the name of her last boyfriend, Joshua, after pretending it had been a "deep and meaningful relationship". She therefore says that he had only one name, like Moses.
    • The name of the boyfriend whose last name she couldn't remember was actually Tag. He must befeeling pretty good about himself right about now...
  • On Entourage, Ari Gold's wife has no first name. She is simply referred to as Mrs. Ari (not even Mrs. Gold), despite more and more screentime each season. Word of God says she'll never get a first name, but fan speculation says its something like Deena or Dina, based on a muffled introduction at a bat mitzvah in the first season.
  • So far, Human Target characters Winston & Guerrero have only one name apiece.
    • Eventually we find out why Winston keeps his first name under wraps: it's Laverne. We never get one for Guerrero, but it's highly unlikely that Guerrero is his real last name.
    • Guerrero's name alone is enough to get most people to crap their pants. This happens to a thief he captures in one episode. Before he can even start the "interrogation", his name is mentioned, and you can see her visibly deflate and lose all bravado.
  • Most of the people Michael Westen crosses swords with on Burn Notice. Most of the job of the week villains will not be given more than one name, while many others will be given full names in passing which are never referenced again. All of the Myth Arc villains tend to go by singular names that are most likely pseudonyms (for example, Carla, Victor, and Simon).
  • The protagonists of Vintergatan usually only had one name...then averted with the second season, when they got last names too.
  • The Visitors in V (both old and new series) go only by a first name.
  • Brittany in the first season of Glee. Her last name doesn't even show up on the school yearbook. However, in the episode "Britney/Brittany" from the second season she reveals that her name is Brittany S. Pierce.
  • Some aliens in Babylon 5, notably Minbari and Narns, go by only one name, whereas others, notably Centauri, go by two.
    • Although the Narns have only one name, it actually consists of two halves divided by an apostrophe. For instance, main character Na'Toth is the daughter of Shak'Toth.
  • Beth on News Radio claims not to have a last name.
  • Cally of Blakes Seven is never known by anything else—as far as we know, no Aurons have more than one name.
  • Mason, from Dead Like Me, has no known other name, and the name that he does have could really be either his first or last name. Kiffany doesn't have a last name, but since she has a lot less screen time than Mason, it's slightly less odd.
  • Siroc in Young Blades. It's unclear whether this is a first or last name.
  • Vince and Lauren from What I Like About You are only main characters to not have their last names ever mentioned in any of the show's 4 seasons.
    • Recurring characters Peter and Rick don't appear to have last names either.


Music[edit | hide]

  • Madonna and Prince, though in both cases it's actually their real first name.
  • Similarly, Rihanna is always known as just "Rihanna", but that's actually her real middle name (her full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty).
  • And, to top it off, Morrissey, who uses only his surname (in full, it's Steven Patrick Morrissey).


Mythology[edit | hide]


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]


Television Commercials[edit | hide]

  • A recent (May 2012) Progressive Insurance commercial has a close-up shot of Flo's driver's license that reveals that she has no middle or last names.


Theatre[edit | hide]


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • 2027: Daniel's last name is never revealed.
  • In Halo, the Master Chief is only known as John-117. The closest thing we have to a family name for him is this MIT prank claiming that he's actually John Harvard.
    • This sort of thing applies to every SPARTAN Super Soldier; because all of them were "recruited" and brainwashed by the military as children, none of them remember their family names, which were replaced by designation numbers. The only SPARTAN who even uses a surname is Kurt-051, who was given the last name of Ambrose as a cover when he was assigned to trained the SPARTAN-IIIs. Only three SPARTANs so far have had their real family names revealed: Kurt M. Trevelyan, Naomi Sentzke, and Carris R. Pernault.
  • Both Knights of the Old Republic games have many examples. Every Jedi Master ever given a name, Kriea, the Handmaiden's name (Brianna), Mira, Juhani, Malak, Revan, all of the Wookies, and more.
  • Mass Effect averts this with everyone except for Legion and (until he joins Clan Urdnot) Grunt. Then again, except for Ashley, Kaidan, and a few formal situations involving Tali, almost nobody's last name is ever mentioned.
    • In Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Dragon Age 2, due to limitations on the system the player character is only ever referred to by his/her last name (Shepard and Hawke, respectively).
    • In the Dragon Age universe, no Dalish we ever see has a last name, and Morrigan doesn't have a family name. The game doesn't give family names for Leliana or Oghren either. Sten's true first name is never even revealed, and while Alistair arguably has a surname, it isn't used because it would be a spoiler, and because he's not interested in announcing his Royal Blood to everyone he meets.
      • Very few non-player characters actually have last names given in-game, either, and most of them are nobility. This may be a Shout-Out to A Song of Ice and Fire, which was acknowledged as an influence on the series.
      • The Qunari in general don't have last names. Even their first names are merely titles and can be taken away. Anyone who joins the Qun also sheds their name.
      • Fenris's former master is a powerful (in both magic and political power) Tevinter mage named Danarius. No last name either, despite his high status in the Imperium.
  • Pokémon characters other than professors rarely have last names (exceptions include Daisy Oak, Blue Oak (having last names due to being a professor's grandchildren), and Steven Stone from the main series of games, Blake Hall and the rest of the Hall family from Pokémon Ranger: Shadows of Almia, and Ash Ketchum and Gary Oak from the anime), and the anime examples likely only have last names in the English version to give enough syllables. Inverting this tendency is the fact that the aforementioned professors rarely have first names in the games, with Professor Cedric Juniper from Pokémon Black and White being the only exception (though his daughter is only referred to by her last name and is the first Professor Juniper encountered until her father appears later in the Player Character's journey).
  • Most characters in Devil May Cry. Kalina Ann appears to be the sole exception, but it's not even clear if "Ann" is her maiden name or a middle name, or even if "Kalina" is really the rocket launcher's own name/model. The name of Dante's father, Sparda, has occasionally been used in the context of a family name, but whether it really is is unknown.
    • That said, Dante joins the ranks of given name + patronymic, with demons frequently referring to him as "Dante, Son of Sparda". Same may be said about Vergil, too.
  • Many, many Nintendo characters. As a rule of thumb, only futuristic characters are given full names (Samus Aran, Fox McCloud, Captain Douglas Jay Falcon), while the iconic Mario has Only One Name (except in The Super Mario Bros Super Show and the movie, where it's Mario Mario to justify the term Mario Bros), and so do most other characters of his series. Other series:
    • Zelda: Link, Zelda, Ganondorf, just to name the central three.
    • Donkey Kong is the exception. He and Diddy are the only ones that are displayed with the full name in Super Smash Bros., too.
    • Older heroes like Pit (Kid Icarus), the Popo and Nana (Ice Climbers).
    • Many of the other hunters mentioned in the Metroid Prime series only have one name.
    • Nearly every character in the Fire Emblem franchise, with a few exceptions : Alpine Alm Rudolf from Gaiden, Celice Baldos Chalphy and Leaf Faris Claus from Seisen no Keifu, the Reed family (Brendan, Lloyd and Linus) of Rekka no Ken, and Princess Elincia Ridell Crimea, Jill Fizzart, and her father Shiharam Fizzart of Path of Radiance.
    • Mario's enemy King Bowser Koopa and his family, on the other hand, do have a surname (Koopa) and first names. In Japan he's just "Daimaou Koopa," more of a title than a name.
    • Everyone in Animal Crossing who isn't a tanuki. ROMSAVE.txt reveals that the DS game stores a number from 0-65535 along with each human character's name that presumably represents an index into a list of surnames, but these aren't displayed in-game.
    • Many of the main party members from the Earthbound/Mother series have Only One Name.
    • Krystal, from the Star FOX series, lacks a surname for plot reasons.
    • Every character in the entire Kirby franchise has just one name, most notably Kirby, Meta Knight, and King Dedede. One might begin to wonder if names like Waddle Dee, Sir Kibble, and Knuckle Joe are a first and last name or just a two-word first name.
  • A few "mysterious" characters follow this trope in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Godot (though his full name is revealed later), Iris, and Bikini, for example, are referred to by Only One Name even in court. We can assume that Iris gave up her family name (Fey) when she joined the temple.
  • Seth and Kane in Command & Conquer: In the first briefing of the Nod campaign, Seth introduces himself as "Seth... just, 'Seth'." Likewise, the news report at the end of the GDI campaign refers to Kane as Nod's "single-named" leader.
    • What, like Zavros and Yuri had last names?
    • You also have Boris. Averted, for the most part, in Red Alert 3, where every named Russian character may be only known by one name but has a full name (minus patronymic) listed in the manual. Played straight with Emperor Yoshiro and Crown Prince Tatsu, but that's typical for Japanese emperors to only have one name (e.g. Hirohito, Akihito).
  • STALKER - Shadow of Chernobyl goes further than many with this trope. Every unique character has only one name - only generic characters have two names.
  • Square(enix) just can't decide whatever characters need surnames, or not:
    • Final Fantasy IV has several characters that fit this trope: Rydia, Tellah, Palom, Porom, and FuSoYa.
      • FuSoYa is almost certainly a compound name that is essentially two or three names with no spaces between then, both due to the camelcase and the fact that he has a brother named KluYa.
      • This can also be because Rydia, Tellah, Palom, and Porom are commoners, and thus do not have last names in this medieval world unlike Cecil, Rosa, Kain, Edward, Yang, and Edge (whose full name is Edward Geraldine) who are of the higher class.
    • Final Fantasy VII, on the other hand, gave almost EVERY character a surname (Cloud Strife, Aerith Gainsborough, etc...) though Sephiroth and his father Professor Hojo remain notable exceptions.
      • One character in the Compilation actually got an upgrade from this to a Meaningful Name, going from just Lazard in the Japanese version to Lazard Deusericus in the English Version. Meaningful because Deusericus is the Latin rendering of Shinra (both meaning "Silken God"), hinting that Lazard is in fact the bastard son of President Shinra.
      • The Final Fantasy Tactics series mixes this up a bit. Most of the major characters like Ramza, Ezel, Marche, etc. have surnames, but everyone else does not. In Final Fantasy Tactics A2, Luso Clemens is the only character (besides Ezel) who has a surname, but everyone else has only a first name or a nickname.
      • You forgot Frimelda Lotice, Ghi Yelgi, Al-Cid Margrace, and Syrenead Sie Hyskarias
      • Well, there's also Kunsel, Tseng, Rude, Reno, Elena, Bugenhagen, Palmer, Scarlet, Nanaki, Seto, Heidigger, Elfe, Fuhito, Biggs, Wedge, Jessie and so on.
        • It's more likely that we just don't know the last names of characters who have none in the game.
    • Final Fantasy X is the other extreme: No surnames in Spira! But hey, in a country where you can call your goth-child "Lulu", does it really matter? Tidus, who comes from a really BIG city hasn't got a last name either, but that's due to his name being an extreme case of "optional" (so extreme that other characters only refer to him as "You")
      • Members of the Ronso and Guado tribes have it as a surname, some of whom are related (Seymour Guado is Jyscal Guado's son), but it is never treated as such.
    • For the most part, last names are never mentioned for PCs in Final Fantasy games. They may be listed in supplemental material, but they are never actually used in the games themselves.
    • Kingdom Hearts, finally, allowed the Disney Characters to keep their last names, but eliminated those of the Final Fantasy characters, save for Squall's surname, "Leonhart" --- it becomes his first name. The original KH-characters themselves are surname-less, like in FFX.
      • Squall is still known as such by some of the other characters in the games, and it's explained that he only goes by Leon because of some sort of tragedy and will go back to using Squall when his homeworld is back to normal. Why he didn't go back to Leon in KH2 is another question altogether. (Probably since his homeworld isn't back to normal yet.)
    • Odd that no mention is made of FF 6, wherein almost every major character has a last name. Terra Branford, Celes Chere, Kefka Palazzo, and so on. Notable exceptions would be the Esper race, who have only the one last name. Maduin, Ramuh, Shiva, etc.
    • Also of note is the series of characters know as Cid. Excluding the one in the second game, most Cids have their own names now. Cid Lufaine (I), Cid Highwind (III,VII), Cid Pollendina (IV), Previa (V), del Norte Marquez (VI), Kramer (VIII), Fabuul (IX), Cidolfas Demen Bunansa (XII), Cid Raines (XIII). A few notable Cids from the spin-offs have their own full names, too, like Cidolfas Orlandeau.
  • Trolls in Warcraft games supposedly only have one name, with possibly the name of their tribe added (for example Vol'jin of the Darskspear tribe), but this is contradicted by many troll NPCs having a last name.
    • The vast majority of draenei don't seem to have last names either. However, they seem to make up for it with titles (paladins are "Vindicator [Insert Name]," for example) and sobriquets (such as "Stormglory").
    • Also the vrykul, who sometimes get titles to go with their names (Svala, the first boss of Utgarde Keep, is turned into a Valkyr and dubbed "Svala Sorrowgrave" by the Lich King)
  • Eisen and Inori of the original Harukanaru Toki no Naka de are examples of this, for different reasons: Eisen is a monk and the emperor's half-brother, while Inori lacks a family name on the account of his low origins—justified by the fact that Kyou is based off Heian Period Japan, so those who do possess family names are either of noble origins or from our world. On the other hand, the Oni don't appear to have last names either.
  • In Starcraft, the Protoss and Zerg have only one name, such as Aldaris, Tassadar, Zeratul, and Zasz.
    • Of course, given that the Zerg are a Hive Mind, there's no need for names at all, the Cerebrates are the only ones who can even be called individuals in the Swarm, except, of course, for the Overmind. There can't be enough Cerebrates to warrant last names.
  • Deckard Cain is the only NPC in the Diablo games with a first and last name.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, your Darcsen allies are only known by their given names (Wavy, Nadine, Zaka, etc.) Isara is an exception; while she is Darcsen by birth, she was adopted by Welkin's father, and was given his last name of "Gunther".
  • Space Channel 5 does this. We have Ulala, Pudding, Jaguar, Purge... I could go on, but I won't.
  • Most of the antagonists in Xenosaga have only one name: Margulis, Pelegri, Wilhelm, Sellers, Sergius, and Heinlein.
  • Maximilian, aka Max, one of the protaginist of Dark Chronicle. The other, Monica Raybrant, averts this trope.
  • Pretty much everyone in the Jak and Daxter series, to the point that the only full names given are either All There in the Manual (Samos and Keira Hagai, though the canon-ness of this is contested) or most likely a joke (Ozmar Itchy Drawers the Third).
  • "Ratchet". And that's it. Sort-of-justified by him not knowing his real parents. Or would that be "Everyone Calls Him Ratchet" instead? "Clank" is also an example, it was even made up on-screen.
  • Ben, the player character in Full Throttle, is only ever called just Ben, and prefers to keep his last name a secret. The same goes for Maureen, although you do find out her full name very soon after meeting her: Maureen Corley.
  • Many characters in Jade Empire have only one name and a title, and the few that do not are usually related to another NPC. (For example, Kia Min, a student in Chapter 1, is the niece of a merchant in the Lotus Assassin fortress).
  • Anne and Piko in Mitsumete Knight ; and all characters save for Christopher MacLeod in Mitsumete Knight R : Daibouken Hen.
  • Tomomi in the Tokimeki Memorial series; she's notable for being the sole case of this in the whole franchise.
  • A lot of characters in Touhou possess only one name, though admittedly most of them only appear in the early, probably Ret Conned out of existence PC-98 games. The most well-known is Cirno, who at least has the probable excuse of being too stupid to remember a second name.
  • Cave Story features multiple characters with only one referred name. The list includes, but is not limited to Quote, Sue, King, Balrog, Misery, and The Doctor. Don't get us started about many of the other NPCs.
  • The 1993 Edutainment Game Eagle Eye Mysteries gives us minor character Sergio, who declares he is like Madonna and Cher and has no last name, when asked on one occasion. This causes another character, Silvia Torres, to suspect him in a later mystery of being a criminal and the mystery's guilty party. He's innocent.
  • In the Metal Gear Solid series we have David (Solid Snake), John (Naked Snake/Big Boss), Adamska (Revolver Ocelot), Jack (Raiden), Rosemary, Mei-Ling, Dr. Clark (Para-Medic), Jonathan (two of them), Ed and Johnny (after his surname "Sasaki" was retconned out of existence). That's not even counting characters who are known primarily by their one-word codenames like EVA and Vamp.
  • In general, Japanese adaptations of Romance of the Three Kingdoms would have a translation convention which would cause this trope. To prevent Name's the Same issues when people are on Last-Name Basis—Chinese surnames are short, often homophonous, and are relatively few—the characters' first and last names would be mashed together and treated as if it was a last name. For example, Liu Bei (Bei of the Liu family) would be call Ryuubi (not Ryuu Bi as it should be), and when Japanese etiquette requires Last-Name Basis, he would be called Ryuubi-san, rather than Ryuu-san. No, the naming convention in Ikki Tousen wasn't an invention but rather a existing convention.
    • They will also refer the characters by their courtesy names (a unique name given later in life according to Chinese tradition). For example, Zhuge Liang is usually referred to as 'Konmin', a Japanese rendition of Kongming, Zhuge Liang's courtesy name.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Almost none of the characters from Sluggy Freelance have last names (they probably do, but they have never been stated). Torg is known as The Lastnameless One during the Harry Potter parody arcs. He does actually have a last name, although it's not revealed; the "Lastnameless" thing is there to help hide the fact that he's not who everyone thinks he is.
  • The angels in Misfile are on an Only One Name basis at the moment. Fanon has tentatively suggested Gabrielson for Rumisiel and Vashiel's surname, but so far Satansniece has not caught on for Cassiel.
  • In Ozy and Millie, Ozy's (adoptive) father is simply known as Llewellyn. His son Ozy inherits the name as a family name. Millie's mother has always been referred to as simply "Ms. Mudd", and her first name was never revealed to the readers until this strip came out.
  • Jayden and Crusader has a fair few of these, Third, Smic and Crusader. Crusader is the more interesting one, because he was called Crusader and had been called Mr. Crusader by some, until we eventually found he was called Crusader Crusader. Effectively having only one name, as first and last name is the same.
  • El Goonish Shive didn't reveal Sarah's last name (Brown) until 2007. When they did give Sarah's name, it was a casual toss-out (the principal was yelling at her).
    • Recently we've met Mr. Verres' mentor, "Arthur J. Arthur". Word of God has it that the J stands for "Just".
  • The main character of Too Much Information, Ace, literally and legally has no last name.
  • Sabrina and her family in Sabrina Online never had their surname revealed, though some fan fiction has tried to do the job for the strip ("Mustelidae").
  • Queen of Wands never mentions the last names of its characters, though Something Positive does. Kestrel from QoW wound up becoming a recurring character in S*P, but still has no last name, which is Lampshaded on the cast page.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Jones "Just Jones will do". Word of Tom confirms that Jones is her full name.
  • Everyone in The Whiteboard has only one name or a single nickname. One nicknamed character, Rainman, was called 'Daniel' once by his mother, but there's been no followup.
  • Fall City Blues: Everyone.
  • Slightly Damned: Demons and Jakkai generally only have one name, though Jakkai tend to use nicknames as a psuedo family name.
  • Pibgorn: Thorax never asked whether Thorax was his personal or family name; he doesn't like to pry.
  • Members of the Voodoo Walrus cast all started off sporting simply one name, but as time and the story have progressed, full names have been revealed. Bowler, Shmeerm, Mirth, and Marron seem to be the only major characters left without last names.
    • Its actually been hinted at that Bowler and Mirth are both going by aliases. Its suggested Bowler has a different name here, and its unknown whether or not Mirth's father was just joking here.
  • Mori of The Dragon Doctors has only one name because her family's name was literally destroyed with magic. She doesn't remember it and it's vanished from all documents.
  • The Other Grey Meat: Almost every character in the story only has one name. People with last names are typically only those who are referenced before the Zombie Apocalypse.
  • No Songs for The Dead: The main character Hector, Romeo, the Big Bad Lilith.


Web Originals[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph Bei Fong, her father Lao, and her mother Poppy are the only characters to possess a surname. This itself isn't too far off with the traditional Asian theme of the series, in that traditionally, in East Asian cultures, family names were reserved exclusively for members of high nobility, much like the wealthy Bei Fong family, before common people started adopting family names for themselves. Alternatively, this may be due to the Anglicisation all of the names have undergone, which can be seen when comparing the names given to the Chinese characters occasionally used to spell them. An Ang as written, for example, is rendered as Aang when spoken, and Ai Luo becomes Iroh. In case you're wondering, yes that's probably how they made their names.
  • The naming conventions of the Transformers tend towards one-word names, like Dirge, Cliffjumper, or Rattrap. Two-word names such as Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus, or Nemesis Breaker, aren't uncommon, but rarely is the second word treated as a surname. (Think of it as akin to some people in the southern United States bearing double first names such as Billy Bob or Rita Mae. Optimus Prime is called simply "Prime" fairly often, but that's because it's a title like "Captain".) Transformers with names of three or more words are EXCEEDINGLY uncommon, and generally only in Japanese continuity.
    • However, being robots who routinely re-use identical bodies, names, and color schemes, this is probably not a big concern.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Cow and Chicken. The Red Guy accuses Chicken's friend Flem of having a girl's name for a middle name. Flem protests "I don't have a middle name! I don't even have a last name! I'm just Flem!"
  • "The Frying Game," an episode of The Simpsons includes Lou the cop telling a reporter that he and Eddie (the other cop) have no last name "like Cher."
    • In fact, a majority of recurring characters in Springfield, as well as certain one-time characters do not have last names, while some characters have their identities concealed be nicknames, honorifics, and occupational titles. If fact, many of the same recurring children of Springfield Elementary only have first names, while their full identities are never mention, possibly due to the negligence of the school staff and the writers.
  • Timon and Pumbaa from The Lion King were given last names, Berkowitz and Smith, respectively in Timon and Pumbaa (Nowadays, though, Disney pretends they weren't.)
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is an interesting case, everyone has only a first name, like Mac, or only a last name, like Mr Herriman. Only two main cast members are exceptions; Frankie has a last name by association (she's Madame Foster's Granddaughter) and Bloo, because he's the main character.
    • Though Bloo's last name was just made up by three-year-old Mac, of course.
  • Pickles the Drummer of Metalocalypse is the only member of the band without a last name of any kind.
    • They even avert mentioning is surname when visiting his relatives in multiple episodes, but not to the point of lampshade hanging.
  • The Backyardigans' title characters. Subverted during one episode, "Whodunit?" where Uniqua was Uniqua Underhood and Austin was Austin Frothingslosh. But you can't help but laugh at the latter's surname, just how stupid it is.
  • No character in Disney's Beauty and the Beast has more than one name.
    • Very few Disney characters have both a first and last name. Almost everyone in Mulan has a family name, but that's an exception (and a somewhat necessary one, since Asian cultures use the surname far more than Westerners). Some of the name shortage is justified (Arabic names usually include a patronymic, so with Aladdin not knowing who his father is, he couldn't have one) and some of it isn't (why are princes with no family identifiers running around? Usually your family is the reason you're a prince in the first place...)
      • Truth in Television Real princes don't use family names - they don't need to, at least in their own countries, their title and first given name is sufficient identification.
  • Several characters on The Fairly Odd Parents fall into this trope. The most obvious are Cosmo and Wanda. On the human side, we have Vicky, Tootie, Elmer, and Sajay. Trixie Tang is the only member of The Popular Kids to have a full name.
    • Cosmo and Wanda's full names were revealed to be Cosmo Julius Cosma (thus why his mother is always called "Mama Cosma") and Wanda Venus Fairywinkle-Cosma, respectively.
  • An American Tail has Tiger and Bridget with only a first name, in a series that usually prides itself in coming up with creative Species Surnames.
  • Henry and June of Ka Blam!!.
  • Dib from Invader Zim has no last name. Though many fans assume that it's simply "Membrane", as his father is called "Professor Membrane", but Word of God is that "Membrane" is his father's first name. However when the Meekrob tried to get his name right and called him "Dib...Dib...whatever your last name is..." Dib simply replied with "that's right."
  • Pretty much everybody in Winx Club, including Bloom and Roxy, who grew up on Earth and therefore should have last names. Everyone else from the Magical Dimension identifies him- or herself by the realm they're from.
  • Heloise, Saffi, and Jez from Jimmy Two-Shoes This seems to be a woman thing, as all the male characters have full name (Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy J. Heinous, Lucius Heinous VII, Samy Garvin).
  • Several characters from Galaxy Rangers, Niko being the most obvious (as the other three have surnames).
  • Gorillaz guitarist Noodle was created in a laboratory and apparently had no name at all until the other band members found her. They named her Noodle because it was the only English word she knew at the time, and she still doesn't have a surname.
  • Sally has no last name, though fans usually give the last name of Finklestein, Ragdoll, or in Fan Fics where she's married to Jack, Skellington.
  • All of the Gargoyles have only one name, if they have a name at all.
  • The titular character of Hey Arnold! was never given a last name. He even won a contest once and when the announcer said he couldn't read the last name Stinky turned to Arnold and said it could only be him "on account of you being the only kid named Arnold in the whole school."
    • Word of God says that his last name was Shortman, which is why his grandfather was always calling him short man.
  • Most characters in Re Boot have only one name. Of the main cast only the Matrix's have last names, and Matrix wants everyone to forget he has a first name.
  • While a number of Recess characters have their full names revealed, some characters lack a last name, such as King Bob, Butch, Francis (Hustler Kid), Jordan, Jerome, Cindy, Hector, Spencer, Emma, Sam, and Dave.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • In real life, surnames are an invention that never really caught on in Iceland. In short, most people in Iceland are known by their given names, and they have a patronymic (or occasionally a matronymic) for disambiguation between individuals. The telephone directory is alphabetized in order of first name. For the full details, see Wikipedia's article "Icelandic name".
    • Patronymic and surnames do have a bit of overlap. That's where we get the surname Johnson. But in places like Iceland, of course, you only have that name if your father was literally named John.
      • And only if you're a man. If you're a woman you gets Jonsdottir instead.
      • It's quite similar in Mongolia, where family names are replaced by patronymic names.
  • In Serbian history, last names were usually patronymic. For example, if a man's first name was Ivan, his children's last name would be Ivanovic. If a man was named Nemanja, his children's last name would be Nemanjic.
  • Similar to the Icelandic example, surnames basically didn't exist in Gaelic cultures for a long time. O' and Mc/Mac translate to "grandson of" and "son of", with female variations as needed.
  • Another real-life example: Mister T was born Lawrence Tureaud, but had his name legally changed. 'Mister' is now his first name.
    • And wrestler Jim "Ultimate Warrior" Hellwig (of WWE fame and WCW infamy) has legally changed his name to "Warrior".
  • Indonesia (or more specifically, Java) is another culture where surnames are not universal. For example, two of the country's presidents (Sukarno and Suharto) only had one name.
    • Sukarno and Suharto both adopted Islamic first names (Ahmed and Rahman, respectively) after making hajj.
    • Even when there's a last name, it is often also a given name (not a family name/surname). An Indonesian can have more than five words in his/her name, all given ones.
  • In Burma, there also can be people with just one name. The Burmese Secretary General of the United Nations became known as U Thant, but U is just a honorific, like Mr.
    • Of course, Burmese names are not just limited to one word; modern names can usually have up to 3 or 4 syllable-words, and if the name is a bit long, some might cut down on a couple of syllables to make a shortened version or a nickname.[2]
  • Many famous Brazilian soccer players (Pelé, Ronaldo, Ronaldino, Romário, Robinho, Rivaldo, Garrincha) are known by their one-word nicknames, though those are not their real names.
    • Ronaldo, Romário and Rivaldo are given names. Ronaldinho and Robinho are diminutive forms of their given names. Really, only Pelé and Garrincha are known by nicknames.
  • An old joke revolves around this: Schwarzenegger has a long one, Richard Gere has a short one, Cher doesn't have one, and the Pope has one but never uses it. What is it? Given this article, it is obviously: a last name.
  • Raymond Joseph Teller from Penn & Teller legally changed his name to Teller.
  • Cher's full name was Cherylinn Sarkisia until she legally changed it to her single name.
  • Radio talk show host "Lionel". "Mononymous, like God," he says. It isn't either of his real names, though.
  • In the same vein as Cher, Madonna. But unlike Cher, Madonna still legally has a surname (Ciccone).
  • Renaissance artists often fall into this. Have you ever heard of the painters Senzio, Buonarotti or van Rijn? Yes, you have. Their first names are Raphael, Michelangelo and Rembrandt, respectively.
    • And the most famous example: when referring to Leonardo, using 'da Vinci' only is incorrect because it's not his surname (it means 'from the town of Vinci'). 'Leonardo' and 'Leonardo da Vinci' are the only 'right' ways to refer to him, because he didn't have a surname.
  • Traditional Hebrews did not use last names; they would personally identify themselves with a single name (considered as a first name) and their immediate heritage.
    • This became a problem when turn-of-the-century Germany and Russia required first and last names in censuses. Often the families taking the census would simply spit out a common last name that they had no actual affiliation with. This is why many European Jewish families have traditional Germanic and Slavic last names.
    • In the same vein, when the Spanish crown exiled all of the Jews to leave the country (XV/XVI century), they gave them a choice: to become Catholics and stay or to keep their religion and go. Needless to say, some people stayed in Spain, changed to Catholics and got new names from the first thing that came to their minds, like Flores ("flowers"), Mesa ("table"), Barriga ("belly") or Cabeza ("head"). If you have a name like this, you probably have a converso ancestor.
  • Dido, formerly Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong.
  • Lights (formerly Valerie Anne Poxleitner, although she still has the last name)
  • Everyone in the credits for the first Bella Dancerella DVD "Let's Dance!" is listed only on a first-name basis, crew included.
  • Most pets and named livestock have only one name, although vets sometimes append the human owner's surname for ease of record-keeping.
  • Two Disney actresses, Lalaine Vergara-Paras and Zendaya Coleman, are credited as just Lalaine and Zendaya respectively.
  • In French-speaking countries it is a quite common phenomenon for people working in the arts and literature to use made-up names of this type, e. g. playwright Moliere (born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin), writer and philosopher Voltaire (Francois-Marie Arouet), novelist Stendhal (Henri Beyle), the architect Le Corbusier (Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris), actors Fernandel (Fernand-Joseph-Désiré Contadin), Arletty (Léonie Bathiat), Bourvil (André-Zacharie Raimbourg), and Capucine (Germaine Lefebvre), and comics artists Moebius (Jean Henri Gaston Giraud), Morris (Maurice De Bevere) and Tibet (Gilbert Gascard). Among Francophone comics creators there is a particular fashion to use noms-de-plume that are phonetic representations of their initials, a fashion probably started by Hergé (Georges Rémi) that includes Achdé, Peyo, Jijé, Jidéem, etc. Marvano (Marc van Oppen) is a borderline case.
  • Before people started making proper armies and the urbanization everyone where Only One Name. Last names where pretty much invented to stop fifteen people show up whenever someone screamed 'Tom'; wich gives us the poor imagination when it comes to some of the more common last names (Tom the Baker = Tom Baker; John the Smith = John Smith etcetera.)
  • And now the Welsh, due to a shortage of distinct surnames, are repeating the process, to distinguish, e.g., Tom Jones the baker from Tom Jones the singer.
  • Chukchi (Russian Eskimos) traditionally have only one name, but can add Russian names for census purposes, so their Chukchi name could be considered their truest name. For example the true name of Yuri Sergeyevich Rytkheu is simply Rytkheu ("unknown" in Chukchi). He added "Yuri Sergeyevich" when Soviet officials asked him to have a Russian-style name. Other one-name Chukchi include Tenevil (herdman who developed a crude writing system) and Kytymval (officially Antonina Alexandrovna Kytymval, a poetess).
  • The nobles of the Heian era of Japan was only known by one name. Even then, those weren't even their real names. Surnames for the common folk in Japan were later introduced and were based after the person's occupation or the area they lived in.

Notes

  1. Power Rangers SPD takes place in 2025 and it's Sky Tate, Jack Landors, and Elizabeth "Z" Delgado. Jack and Z aren't even the same ethnicity. Network and toy-company sites often work with first-draft information.
  2. Shortening a name or nicknaming isn't generally considered rude in Burma if you've acquainted decently with the person.