Red Baron

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"Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty or more
The bloody Red Baron was rollin' up the score
Eighty men died trying to end that spree

Of the bloody Red Baron of Germany".
The Royal Guardsmen, "Snoopy vs. the Red Baron"

Sometimes a character is so badass that they don't have just a name. They have their own nickname, one that is so badass that anyone who hears it will crap their pants in fear. If they occasionally show up, be prepared to hear this nickname spoken repeatedly whenever they rescue someone.

Named for the Ace Pilot, Manfred von Richthofen, who was known as "The Red Baron" during World War I. He was best known for having the highest kill count of any flyer and for his bright red plane.

Compare with Fan Nickname, where the fans come up with a nickname that isn't used in the series. The Butcher is a subtrope where the nickname typically refers to the character's violent nature or dark acts.

Compare The Magnificent, Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", and Names to Run Away From Really Fast. I Have Many Names can be when they have more than one and They Call Him "Sword" when he's called after some kind of weapon. This may also be a sign that you're dealing with The Dreaded. While some fall into Only Known by Their Nickname, most of these characters regularly use their real names. Subtrope to Nom De Guerre, where they have the nickname, but they might not be particularly known or feared for it.

Not to be confused with the 70s Tokusatsu and 90s Anime Super Robot show of the same name, or the frozen pizza brand of the same name. Or, for that matter, the series of World War One combat flight simulators of the same name, in which the original makes a guest appearance.

You may be looking for That Other Sort of Baron. Or, if you may be looking for the movie; that's here. Likewise, the flight combat sim series is here.

According to The Other Wiki, the formal term for this sort of thing is "epithet".

Examples of Red Baron include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the one-shot Blame sequel, the lead character is referred to as "The Calamity" by the Silicon Beings. Given his penchant for mass destruction, it fits.
  • In Baccano!, Claire Stanfield's most well-known title is Vino, in reference to the wine-like stains on the floor he inevitably turns his opponents into.
  • Guts of Berserk is known both as "The Black Swordsman" and "The Hundred-Man Slayer."
  • Black Lagoon has a few of these such as Sawyer the Cleaner but the most notable is Roberta, "the Bloodhound of Florencia," a name that terrifies even hardened criminals in her native Colombia.
  • In Claymore, several of the main characters have nicknames that belie their badassedness, including "Teresa of the Faint Smile" who can kill Yoma without ever having to use her extra powers.
  • In the second season of Code Geass, Suzaku has earned the nickname "White Reaper"; his Knights of the Round teammate Luciano Bradley is "the Vampire of Britannia." Before the name of the pilot of the Lancelot was know, the Black Knights referred to Suzaku as the White Helmet (or something similar, depending on translation). Lelouch's mother was known as Marianne the Flash.
    • Played for laughs with Lloyd, whose known as 'Earl of Pudding' because he likes pudding.
    • One random pilot refers to Kallen as "The Ace of the Elevens", but it's unclear if this is an actual nickname or merely a statement of fact. Her codename in Lelouch's cell phone is Q1. Fans tend to call her "Crimson Lotus", which is the translation of her Super Prototype's name, Guren.
    • And Lelouch, or more accurately, Zero, is "the Man Of Miracles".
      • Lelouch is also referred to as the "Black Prince." In contrast, his formidable brother Prince Schneizel is known as the "White Prince."
    • Princess Cornelia is known as the "Witch of Britannia" for her ruthless conquests on the battlefield.
      • Even Princess Euphemia gets a nickname. After she orders (and personally partakes in) the murder of thousands of Japanese people after being accidentally Geassed into doing so by Lelouch, she comes to be derisively known as "Princess Massacre." As for the fans, she's known as "the Euphinator" as a result of this incident.
    • Guilford is known as "The Spearhead of the Empire"
  • In The Record of a Fallen Vampire, the protagonist and one of the titular fallen vampire is Akabara "Red Rose" Strauss. Meanwhile, his queen, Adelheid, became known as the Moonlight of Corrosion because of a tragic and bloody incident in the past where she almost annihilated all vampires. We also have his Dhampire subordinate, Leticia who garners the nicknames "Lety" and "Mountain Cat", and there's Strauss's mortal enemy, whose known only by her moniker, "The Black Swan."
  • Subverted in Cromartie High School when Akira Maeda decides on a new nickname for himself: "The Dragon of Razors". Unfortunately, due to his Butt Monkey status, no one seems to call him by that name.
    • There's also the rock star guy the students call Freddie, since he's a mute and no one seems to know his real origins.
  • Darker than Black gives us the Black Reaper, Hei. Notable in that the only name we know him by is also a Badass Code Name; "Hei" is Chinese for "Black."
  • Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star is known as the "Man with the Seven Scars" or the "Savior of Century's End", while his Aloof Big Brother Raoh is known as "Ken-oh" (the "King of Fist") or the "Conqueror of Century's End".
  • Fullmetal Alchemist is a remarkable example, going so far as to having the Amestris government actually issue every State Alchemist a similar moniker. The series occasionally spoofs the problems of this trope, with the people being more familiar with the fearsome alias than the person behind it - resulting in them frequently mistaking Edward Elric's walking armor brother, Alphonse, for the eponymous Fullmetal Alchemist.
    • In the manga, Roy Mustang is referred to as the "Hero of Ishbal" while Riza Hawkeye is the "Eye of the Hawk".
      • Though, given the reputation the battle of Ishbal has in the world of FMA and Roy's actions in it, The title "Hero of Ishbal" may also double as The Butcher. The soldiers in his company who initially bestowed the title on him meant it to be an honour, but many of his foes (especially the homunculi) often invoke it to claim that they are Not So Different and the title is sure to come up in any Hannibal Lecture. Roy himself seems to hold the latter view, Case in point being that a homunculi bringing it up in conversation with Roy is an indicator that he/she/it is about to be terminated with Extreme Prejudice.
    • The same series parodies the trope when a former Serial Killer refers to himself by alias only, stating that his real name would make his opponent piss his pants in fear. When his name is revealed, the opponent is not impressed and has never even heard of him, irking the serial killer greatly. To be fair, he was famous; Al is just from a small rural town.
    • And there's also Scar, whose real name is never known in the anime and has not been revealed in the manga, called as such after the eponymous disfigurement on his forehead, who the entire military has been trying to hunt down.
      • He accepts the moniker the others have given him after having given up his original name.
  • Every Pandora in Freezing has a badass nickname, most notably The Untouchable Queen and The Monster of West Genetics.
  • In Ghost in the Shell, Maj. Motoko Kusanagi is always referred to as "the Major" over 2 seasons and a movie, her first name is used about five times, and her surname appears about as often, although it appears in writing a few more times. In the manga, it's used about as often. It's common among fans to just refer to her as the Major. Some fans forget her real name, because it's so obscure. Oh, and it might not be her real name at all; in the manga, when the narrator introduces her, it is as "a woman calling herself Major Motoko Kusanagi (an obvious alias)". Additionally, while "Motoko" is a rare female name, "Kusanagi" is a mythological sword; an equivalent English name would be Brittany Excalibur. If you still believe that's the Cyborg super-agent's real name, I've got a bridge to sell you. On Mars.
  • All of the Ace Pilots in Mobile Suit Gundam have this, the most famous being the legendary Char "The Red Comet" Aznable, who was clearly based off of Richtofen.
    • What's interesting to note is that despite the chromatic similarities, Char's canonical fighting style, at least in the original series, is actually the polar opposite of Richthofen's. While The Red Baron was an average pilot at best whose real talent was his superior marksmanship and knack for picking targets who wouldn't see him coming, The Red Comet used a combination of high-speed, in-your-face assaults and enough acrobatic skill to avoid taking hits in what would otherwise be suicidal maneuvers. In truth, his style is probably closer to Manfred's brother Lothar, who, while not as famous, garnered a reputation as one of the most aggressive, reckless pilots of WWI.
      • A somewhat more historically accurate homage would be Char's Mobile Suit Gundam AGE counterpart, Zehart Galette, another red-clad ace whose piloting style is somewhat less flashy and more calculated (by the standards of an action series, at any rate), complete with a psychotic, Blood Knight brother/wingman.
    • Spoofed by Johnny Ridden being known as the "Crimson Lightning", which causes him grief since he's constantly being mistaken for Char. It's so bad that his Catch Phrase is practically "I'm the Crimson Lightning, dammit!", said immediately after someone mistakes him for Char.
    • Also from Zeon, Ramba Ral is known as "Blue Giant". And team of Gaia, Mash and Ortega known as "Black Tri-Stars".
    • Series protagonist Amuro Ray is known as the "White Devil" by Zeon forces, primarily for the RX-78-2's white parade colors, as well as his incredible skill at piloting. During the events of Chars Counterattack, he is known as the "White Unicorn".
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam should be noticed specially here, for it given us an ace pilot so Badass that his given name is never stated due to world potentially imploding due to awesome overload. We simply know him as Undefeated of the East, Master Asia.
      • A manga of debatable officialness gives his name as Shuji Kurosu.
      • Master Asia's title in Japanese, "Touhou Fuhai", more literally translates as "Invincible East".
      • Then there's the entire Shuffle Alliance, which Master Asia is a former member of. All the members are named after playing cards, such as Domon Kasshu, the King of Hearts.
    • Zechs Merquise earns the nickname "Lightning Baron" because of a battle where he took out rebel pilots with incredible speed; after kicking butt during OZ's coup d'etat and receiving a two-rank promotion, it's upgraded to "Lightning Count".
    • Also, Duo Maxwell refers to himself as the "Shinigami" or "God of Death" ("The Great Destroyer" in the edited version).
      • Shinigami is also given to Terry Sanders Jr, for less impressive reasons ("The Reaper" in the dubs)
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Mu La Flaga is known as the "Hawk of Endymion" while Andrew "The Desert Tiger" Waltfeld is probably a Shout-Out to Erwin Rommel below.
      • Model kits series add several Red Barons to CE era. All of these characters later appear in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Astray:
        • Earth Alliance has Edward Harrelson "Ed the Ripper", Rena Imelia "Sakura Burst", Jane Houston "White Whale" and Morgan Chevalier "Mad Dog of the Moonlight". The South America arc in Destiny Astray was set to pit Ed in duel against other three.
        • ZAFT has Mikhail Coast "Doctor". Gundam SEED Astray also reveal that Miguel Aiman had the nickname "Magic Bullet of Dusk" and add Gud Vair "ZAFT Hero".
        • Finally, Orb has Barry Ho "God Hand" and Jean Carrey "Glittering Star J" (who, amusingly, at different times fought for all three sides in the war).
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00 Sergei Smirnov is known as the "Wild Bear of Russia", spoofed with Patrick Colasour being known as the "Immortal Colasour", a reference to how he miraculously survives repeated beatings by Gundams. Graham Aker later becomes known solely as "Mr. Bushido" in the second season.
      • Gundam 00 Sidestories add Amy Zimbalist, his comrades call him "Steel Cowboy". To enemies, he's "Devil of Unification".
    • The other red baron in the UC continuity is Anavel Gato of Gundam 0083. He's called the "Nightmare of Solomon", having presumably racked up a large number of kills during the battle of Solomon and then A Boa Qu.
    • Weird enough, the Zeon ace with highest kill count is Brenev Auggs "One Shot Killer". Never heard of him? That's because he's only mentioned in supplement material of model kits.
      • The MSV material is full of ace pilots with these kind of nicknames, like Federation fighter pilot Texan Dmitri (called "Lady Killer" because of his good looks). For the record, Auggs earned his name because he only fired his gun at point blank range.
  • Van from Gun X Sword has dozens of nicknames, to the point where even he has trouble keeping track of them.
    • There is one name, Van the Nice Guy, that recurs due to the fact that Joshua keeps calling him that and even wrote it down somewhere.
    • It should be noted that Van is horrible with names, including his own nicknames. He took several episodes just to get his sidekick's name right. The only nickname he can remember with any consistency is "Van of the Dawn."
    • A longer list stolen from The Other Wiki: "Van the Unemployed", "Van the Freeloader", "Hangover Van", "Steel Van", "Invincible Van", "Pretty Van from the Garbage Dump", "Van the Unsung Hero who Gives It All He's Got", "Daybreak Van", "Nice Guy Van", "Van that Weird Guy who Helped Out", "Van of a Thousand Conquests", "Van of a Thousand Naps", "Van, The Devil in The Poisoned Tuxedo", and "Van the Devil's Swallowtail Suit".
  • Just about every master in Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple has at least one of these. The most impressive one is Hayato Fuurinji's "The Invincible Superman", alternatively translated as "Man Without Enemies" (The term "Without Enemies" is equivalent to "Invincible" in kanji), because there's seriously no one alive who poses a great threat to him.
  • The Little Busters! Yonkoma side-stories spoof this, with the titular characters thinking up such nicknames for themselves so they can become more familiar. No one is happy with theirs, all ending up with things like "The Man with the Golden Sphincter".
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha earns the title "Ace of Aces" to her military peers mid-way through the series. And let's not forget her Fan Nickname "White Devil"...
    • Subaru eventually gains her own nickname in the post-StrikerS Time Skip: Silver Ace.
    • Nanoha, Fate, and Hayate's Evil Twins from the Battle of Aces game are called, respectively, the Starlight Destroyer, the Thunderblade Assailant, and the Ruler of Darkness.
  • Evangeline A.K. Mcdowell of Mahou Sensei Negima has many of these including Maga Nosferatu, Feared Queen of the Night, and Apostle of Destruction. Her least favorite is "Kitty".
  • The highest-ranked Otome in Mai-Otome have nicknames that match that of their GEMs. For instance, Shizuru is known as the "Bewitching Smile Amethyst", and her rival Haruka holds the secondary title of "Continental Orb Topaz". Some of these tend toward the "odd" end of the Word Salad Title scale.
  • Mazinger Z: the machine itself is more than once called "The Invincible Tower of Black Iron". Mazinkaiser carries on the tradition of being called the "Demon God of Justice".
  • Metal Armor Dragonar's Char Clone, Maiyo Plato is known as the 'Blue Eagle of Giganos'.
  • Naruto: The Yellow Flash of Konoha,[1] The White Fang of Konoha,[2] The Demon of the Hidden Mist,[3] The God of Shinobi,[4] The Legendary Sannin (The Toad Sage,[5] The Slug Princess/The Legendary Sucker,[6] and The White Snake[7]), the Zombie Combo,[8] The Copy Ninja[9]...
    • The Bloody Habanero/Red Hot-blooded Habanero and The Orange Hokage for Kushina Uzumaki and Naruto Uzumaki, respectively.
  • In the One Piece universe, it seems like everyone with a high bounty acquires such an epithet. Luffy's is "Straw Hat", while his crew mates each get one: "Pirate Hunter" Zoro, "Cat Burglar" Nami, "Devil Child" Nico Robin, "King of the Snipers" Sogeking, "Black Leg" Sanji, "Cyborg" Franky, and "Dead Bones" Brook. (Poor Chopper gets stuck with "The Cotton Candy Lover.") Then you get "Fire Fist" Ace, "Supersonic" Van Auger, "Grim Reaper" Doc Q, and the list goes on...
    • Edward Newgate, better known as "Whitebeard", is easily the most powerful pirate on the Grand Line. His name is so infamous that his declaring ownership of an island will keep it out of harm's way, something even an alliance with the World Government can't guarantee. Or at least he was.
    • Brook is actually the only one who has referred to himself as "Dead as Bones"; because he was still alive when his bounty was issued, his poster bears the name "Humming Brook". A little less ominous, but we'll see how long that sticks given his new appearance.
      • Post time-skip Brook goes by Soul King. A suitably badass title that first referred to the soul music he's gotten famous for, but achieved a new level of meaning when he showed a few new ways he can use his Devil Fruit power.
    • Also worth a mention is "Dark King" Silvers Rayleigh, former first mate to the Pirate King himself.
  • Overman King Gainer has Gain, who is known as the Black Southern Cross.
  • Parodied with Kuno in Ranma ½ who keeps giving himself nicknames that no one else recognizes, starting with "Blue Thunder of Furinkan High".
  • Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin was known as the Hitokiri Battousai (or Battosai the Manslayer, for those who are into english dubs) during the Bakumatsu, as a reference to his profession (assassin) and his sword fighting style.
    • Saitou Hajime is known as the Wolf of Mibu.
    • He tries to dissociate himself from it; people accepting that the name does not define him constitute several meaningful moments in the series. Chiefly Kaoru at the beginning, but Aoshi contradicting Saitou from 'Battousai' to 'Kenshin' at almost the very end bears remembering, too.
      • An advantage of 'Hitokiri Battousai' being so infamous as such is that a minority of people even know he was 'Himura Battousai,' and practically nobody was aware of the personal name 'Kenshin.'
    • In the first deeply serious fight in the series, versus the psycho assassin Udo Jin-e (Kurogasa), he gets into trash-talk mode and says, "let me show you the meaning of the name, Battousai." (Apparently it means he is the best damn quickdraw in Japan. Hiten Mitsurugi Ryu has a lot of battoujutsu, or iai techniques.)
  • The Flame Haze of Shakugan no Shana have... interesting titles, to which they are always referred to by, except by close friends. These include: The Arbiter of Reverse Reasoning, The Master Throne, The Specialist of Everything, and The Interpreter of Condolences.
    • And going even further, Shana doesn't actually have a name besides her title, The Red-Hot Eyed Flame Haired Hunter, until Yuji gives her one.
  • Slayers: Lina Inverse, the Bandit Killer, the Doramata (Dragon Spooker), the Enemy of All Who Live. She's not too fond of the last two but will cheerfully use the first.
    • And how could we forget the Heartless Sorcerer Swordsman, and his friend Mummy Man.
  • The Sky Crawlers has a feared ace known simply as 'The Teacher'.
    • In the game, he is known as, in order, "Lynx", "Cheetah" and finally, as the "Black Cat" as the game goes on and his fame spreads.
  • Marie Angel of Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross is nicknamed the "Cosmo Amazon".
  • Tenchi Muyo GXP: The protagonist gains the nickname "Lorelei" Seina, because his weaponized bad luck, like the German siren's song, lures (Space Pirate) ships to their doom.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Simon The Digger.
  • Manjyome "Thunder" of Yu-Gi-Oh GX - he even has a Badass Catch Phrase to go with it, using a play on words... in Japanese, of course, which is why both were cut from the English dub. Then there's "Hell Kaiser" Ryo.
  • The future selves of the main characters of Zettai Karen Children each get one of these nicknames. Kaoru is the "Queen of Catastrophe", Aoi is the "Lightspeed Goddess", and Shiho is the "Untouchable Empress". In what we can only assume is a Stable Time Loop, the Big Bad who's seen the future through precognition refers to them by these names in the present and gets his entire organization to as well... which means that they're named after themselves.
  • The titular Murder Princess, Falis, who didn't actually get that nickname in-universe 'till right at the end of the anime. She's mostly called that by enemies of her kingdom... but not when she's within earshot. Mostly because, if you're an enemy of her kingdom and within earshot of her, you're most likely already dead.
  • In Soul Eater, the sweet, ditzy blonde lady Marie Mjolnir is aptly nicknamed the Crusher. (She turns out to be a Lightning Bruiser.) Justin is known as the Executioner. Maybe a running thing for Death Scythes, although the others have no such nicknames (although being called the 'Demon' such-and-such' could be enough on its own).
  • Trigun - Vash the Stampede is such a Walking Disaster Area that he gets dubbed the "Humanoid Typhoon" (and actually does get reclassified as an "Act of God" by the planet's insurance company so it doesn't have to pay out damages incurred in connection with him).
    • Tort law says wtf about that, by the way, and presumably they start offering Stampede Insurance packages, since the odds of Vash actually turning up and rescuing any particular location are low enough that with the right pitch they could make a killing. As long as the Big Bad doesn't use him to blow up any more cities. And no one insures the moon.
    • Other parties in the series have such names, noms de guerre at least, usually in the form of The Magnificent, but most of them aren't especially widely feared, if only because they kill most people who hear about them. Manga Wolfwood appears to have possessed a certain cache in the Career Killers community that earned him the name Nicholas the Punisher, but it's possible he was just assigned that title by his bosses. So it's just the Hero with Bad Publicity who's blood-chillingly notorious.
  • Fairy Tail: Salamander, Titania, The Demon, "Beast Arm" Elfman, Black Steel, "The Demon Princess" Miki Chickentiger "Iron Rock" Jura.
  • Durarara!!'s Shizuo Heiwajima has the very well-deserved title of God of Destruction. Occasionally, this is extended to "God of Destruction in a Bartender Suit" is added to make sure people properly identify him.
  • It's easier to list the characters in Jackals who don't have killer nicknames, though this may have something to do with the fact that the cast is primarily made of up, you know, killers. The main hero and his rival are "Alligator" Nichol Heyward and Huya "Requiem" Godfrey. Many of the others sound a little goofy when translated into English... but then again, "the Flying Monkey" is probably an improvement over "Jasper Tennessee" anyway. Richard Domingo takes the cake here, having multiple nicknames - Lightning, the Bolt, and the Virtuoso of Firearms.
  • In Corsair, Ayace, the armada commander, is called "The Devil Killer".
    • Giving a Seme a badass nickname is very common in yaoi. Sometimes the uke will have one, too.
  • Baki the Grappler features Orochi Doppo, "the Karate God", and Hanma Yujiro, both "The Ogre" and "The world's strongest creature".
  • Pretty much everyone of any power in To Aru Majutsu no Index has a Gratuitous English Badass Nickname. There's Railgun, Imagine Breaker, Meltdown, Accelerator...and, perhaps the best of them all, the doctor named "Heaven Canceler." Think about that one for a second.

Heaven Canceler: Well, just don't die. As long as you don't die, I can fix you.

    • Everyone also calls Heaven Canceler "that frog-faced doctor." He doesn't seem to mind.
  • Yomiko Readman of Read or Die is known as The Paper. This name is apparently given to the most talented Paper Master of the British Library and is passed on whenever one retires or dies. Yomiko is the 19th person to be issued that codename. Her deceased lover/mentor Donny Nakajima was the 18th.
  • Sakata Gintoki of Gintama is known as the "Shiroyasha (White Demon)" during the Joi War.
  • Gavrill from Franken Fran is known as "The Wolf", due to her brutality and shape-shifting powers.
  • Back at the time when Habara from Daily Lives of High School Boys was a Enfant Terrible-level Bully, she was known as the Archdemon.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Phantom is usually called "The Ghost Who Walks", but has also been called "The Man Who Cannot Die"; each scion of the Walker family has donned the garb upon the death of his predecessor, resulting in Legacy Immortality.
  • Depending on the continuity, Batman is referred to as either the Caped Crusader or the Dark Knight. which came from Darknight Detective.
    • And occasionally, usually by Ra's al-Ghul, The Detective.
      • Robin was originally known as the Boy Wonder, and later as the Teen Wonder.
      • On a related note, Batman holds the title of "World's Greatest Detective" in The DCU.
      • Some of Batman's foes also have nicknames; The Joker is occasionally referred to as "the Clown Prince of Crime" and Bane, as the man who delivered the most brutal beating Batman ever experienced, is known as "The Man Who Broke the Bat."
      • "Two-Face" was originally the nickname used to identify Harvey Dent once his face was half-scarred by acid and he became a criminal. Later versions of the character used this as a persona Dent adopted as part of his multiple personalities disorder.
      • Scarecrow is "The Master of Fear" while The Riddler is "The Prince of Puzzlers."
  • Wolverine of the X-Men used to be just "Wolverine". Then we learned his name was Logan. And then we learned his real name was James Howlett.
  • Arguably, all superhero codenames count as this. Only if the owner of the name is respected, though.
  • Spider-Man is referred to as either the Web-slinger or Wall-Crawler, based on his two main methods of transportation. A less common name is "The Arach-Knight", as a pun on Batman's "The Dark Knight".
  • Superman, The Man of Steel, the Man of Tomorrow, The Last Son of Krypton, and the Big Blue Boy Scout.
    • His cousin, Supergirl, is either the Girl of Steel or the Maid of Steel as a play on Superman's most common nickname.
  • One character in the Marvel Universe is referred to by Mooks as "The Anti-Life" and "The Slayer of all that Breathes". That character is, of course, Squirrel Girl.
  • Speaking of which, everybody give a great big hello to the Merc with the Mouth, the Regeneratin' Degenerate, the Crimson Comedian, iiiiiiiiiiit's...Deadpool!!!
  • Some of the chapter titles in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck are implied to be nicknames Scrooge has acquired during his adventures.
    • Not a chapter title, but commonly used as Scrooge's nickname during his cowboy days is "Glasgow Kid".
  • Aquaman is the King of the Sea(s). He's also been called "The Sea Sleuth".
  • Wonder Woman is sometimes called "the Amazing Amazon".
  • The Flash is The Scarlet Speedster, or sometimes just The Speedster.
    • also The Fastest Man Alive.
  • Green Arrow is the Emerald Archer.
  • Black Canary is the Sonic Siren.
  • Captain Marvel is the World's Mightiest Mortal or The Big Red Cheese.
  • Hans von Hammer, an Expy of the original Red Baron, is Enemy Ace to comics readers, but was known In-Universe as "The Hammer of Hell."
  • In X-Men Noir, newspapers call Professor Xavier "the Professor of Crime"; his X-Men all have nicknames of their own, but they seem to have given them to each other. There's also the various criminals who taught young Tommy Halloway the tricks of the trade: Horace "Harlem Houdini" Hobbs, Orville "The Gentleman" Whitwell, and Cain "The Juggernaut" Marko.
    • Iron Man Noir has the infamous pirate Captain Namor, also known as the Beast of the Blue and the Blood Mariner.
    • Luke Cage himself in Luke Cage Noir received the name "Power-Man" after taking two bullets in the chest and getting up as if nothing had happened.
  • In Le Scorpion, Armando Catalano is universally known as 'the Scorpion'.
  • The Mighty Thor- it was actually a fairly common thing in the early days of the comic for especially nasty villains to be declared/declare themselves 'The enemy of all who live!' (exclamation point mandatory).
  • Ralph Dibny, the Elongated Man, was often referred to as the 'Ductile Detective', especially during his stories from the 1960s and 70s.
  • Gilbert Shelton's Wonder Wart-hog was called the 'Hog of Steel', in an obvious parody of Superman.


Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

  • The Rocky series featured a few. For example, Apollo Creed was The Master of Disaster, The King of Sting, The Dancing Destroyer, and The Count of Monte Fisto.
    • And of course, Rocky "The Italian Stallion" Balboa himself. Not to mention that "Rocky" is itself a nickname for Robert, and a common one for fighters (Marciano, Graziano)
    • Creed's inspiration, Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali, was apparently so impressed that he regrets never having called himself The Master of Disaster. Instead, he is known as "The Greatest".
  • Il Duce, the aged assassin and father of Connor and Murphy from The Boondock Saints. So Badass that he can trick an FBI agent into thinking he's six guys with a gun apiece instead of one guy with six guns.
  • Will Stoneman, the dogsled-racing title character in Iron Will.
  • Blade is known and feared as The Daywalker.
  • In Smokin Aces, everyone assumes that The Swede must be an incredibly badass Career Killer, because he goes only by "The Swede." Subverted, in that it turns out he's a heart surgeon, not an assassin.
  • Antonio Banderas' character in the El Mariachi franchise is simply known as 'EL' which means 'the.'
    • Also 'him," which sounds more meaningful and intimidating.
      • Amusingly enough though, it's clarified within the films that it's El. As in "The". Might have been meant as a bit of a bilingual pun by the director.
  • O Brother, Where Art Thou? has the main characters meet George "Babyface" Nelson, an actual historical gangster and bank robber. He doesn't like his nickname.
  • "You're sending the Wolf? Shit, Negro, that's all you needed to say."


Folklore[edit | hide]

  • Robin of Locksley, Earl of Huntington was declared an outlaw and adopted the name: Robin Hood.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In The Wheel of Time, the Aiel call Lan Mandragoran Aan'allein, which the Old Tongue for "The Man Who Is One Nation," a reference to the fact that he is the uncrowned king of Malkier, and has sworn to fight the shadow.
    • The Dragon Reborn itself is a kind of example of this.
  • Westley from The Princess Bride is called The Dread Pirate Roberts. It's lampshaded when he mentions no one would be afraid of The Dread Pirate Westley.
    • "The Man in Black" fits the trope much better, as that's what the characters actually call him during the book and movie.
    • Also, the original Dread Pirate Roberts retired twelve years before Westley took the title. Westley's mentor (who was the Dread Pirate Roberts before Westley) explains that it's important that the title stays, because the name intimidates people so much that it will give the bearer of the name an edge.
  • Honor Harrington is nicknamed "the Salamander" by news organizations on her home planet, as in her military exploits she has a knack for always being found "where the fire is hottest" - and always making it out again. (In ancient and medieval European lore, salamanders were supposed to be able to endure even the hottest flames.)
    • Havenite Citizen Admiral Esther McQueen is nicknamed "Citizen Admiral Cluster Bomb".
  • The Chrestomanci is known only by his title, and alternately by "The Big Man," "You Know Who" or "That Man Up at That Castle." He is almost never called by his real name except in the books that starred him as a kid.
    • There's at least one fanfiction where cat has to ask who christopher is, having not heard his proper name before. In charmed life it takes half a book for them to learn it's a title not the family's surname which is chant like theirs.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a bunch of these some flattering, some not. We have the Kingslayer, the Imp, the Hound, the Mountain That Rides, Whoresbane, Turncloak, Knight of Flowers, Strongboar, the Gallant, the Red Viper of Dorne, the Dragon Knight, Blackfish...
    • Despite not being an Action Girl, Daenerys Targaryen accumulates several of these, including Stormborn, the Unburnt, Mother of Dragons, and Breaker of Chains.
    • Robb Stark was called "The Young Wolf" primarily by his enemies, with emphasis on the "young" part. After he started winning numerous victories, they more emphasized the "wolf" part.
  • The Second Apocalypse series has Seswatha, Grandmaster of a sorcerous School and one of the No-God's most determined enemies. The No-God's minions call him Chigra (the Slaying Light).
    • Coithus Athjeari, who leads the scouts of the Holy War, becomes known as "The Wind With Teeth" to the Kianene.
  • Vanyel Ashkevron started out the weedy, oversensitive, and none-too-interested-in-the-wenches misfit son of a provincial Valdemaran noble. He ended up known as 'Demonsbane', 'Shadow-Stalker', 'The Hero of Stony Tor', and (posthumously) 'The Last Herald-Mage'.
    • Herald Lavan Chitward had his last name replaced by "Firestarter" when his Gift of pyrokinesis became well-known, then upgraded to "Firestorm" when, well, he caused one.
  • Aside from Darth Vader, there were a few other really good pilots in The Empire, according to the Star Wars Expanded Universe. Baron Soontir Fel drew from a lot of inspirations including the Red Baron (really, reminding people of von Richthofen was the only reason Fel was a Baron at all). The novel Death Star has a pilot mention another excellent pilot, an instructor who had a name, but was referred to as The Shooter.
  • From David Gemmell's Legend the bad guys address Druss simply as Deathwalker.
    • Crops up in other Gemmell books such as Dakeyras, more commonly known as Waylander, or Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem Man.
  • Harry Potter: 'the Boy Who Lived' and 'He Who Must Not Be Named', aka The Dark Lord.
    • Later on Harry is also branded "Undesirable No. 1" by the Ministry of Magic.
    • In books six and seven, he's saddled with "The Chosen One." The wizarding world doesn't seem to be big on creativity.
  • The Witcher Geralt goes with White Wolf.
  • Jared Kincaid of The Dresden Files is "The Hell Hound." It fits.

Harry: "Not just an affectionate nickname, folks."

  • In the Dragonlance novel "Dragons of Spring Dawning" as the elven princess Laurana leads the Whitestone Armies to a series of incredible victories over the Dragonarmies, her long blonde hair and radiant nature earn her the nickname 'the Golden General'.
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora and its sequel Red Seas Under Red Skies have Locke, whose nickname is "The Thorn of Camorr," though the only people who call him that don't know who he is. Rather apropos, considering the fact that he frequently robs them blind.
  • The last Duke of Ankh, and self-appointed executioner of the last King of Ankh, Stoneface Vimes. His great-something-grandson Sam Vimes Sr. starts getting the same nickname after acquiring something of the same reputation re: dealing with authority.

Vimes: The Regicide. Not sure why people have to call him that. I mean, it was only one king. It wasn't as if it was a habit.

  • In the Dark Heavens series, one of the characters is a Scary Black Man named Leo. Is it any wonder he gets called "the Black Lion"?
  • Many of the major Wild West characters in the novels by Karl May have nicknames: Old Shatterhand, Old Surehand, Old Firehand, Old Death, Old Wabble (notice a pattern there?), Sans-ear, Aunt Droll... The author handwaves the frequent use of the "Old" prefix as a supposed Western way of adding extra emphasis to the quality referred to in the nickname rather than to indicate actual age (such as Old Shatterhand's uncommon strength and habit of knocking out even the strongest foe with a single judiciously placed blow to the head), though Old Wabble, also known as "the King of the Cowboys", actually is an old man even when first encountered.
  • In A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the dictator threatening nuclear war is nicknamed "El Rabioso" and "Mad Dog Branzillo." The peaceful leader who replaces him after the time-travel events is nicknamed "El Zarco."
  • In The Blue Sword, frequent references are made to "Lady Aerin, Dragon-killer," a legendary heroine of the Damarian natives.
  • In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath books by P.C. Hodgell, Kencyr frequently carry an epithet as well as a name. It cannot be self-applied, and may not be flattering. Jame, the protagonist, is dubbed "Priests'-bane", while her brother Torisen is "Black Lord", based on his rather gloomy style of dress.
  • Subverted in Belisarius Series by Venandekatra the Vile. It is specifically remarked that he is not called "the dreaded" or the "ruthless" or anything like that but only "the vile". Dreaded people are respected, vile people are held in contempt.
  • Randall Flagg in The Dark Tower and other books "The Man Without A Face" The Dark Man" "The Black Man" "The Walkin' Dude".
  • In the Gordon R. Dickson novel Spacial Delivery, there's a culture of bear-like aliens, Dilbians, who give everyone epithets. The most badass member of the race is known as "One Man"...as in "one man army."
    • A thing to remember about them is that the epithet doesn't always mean what it sounds like it means. "Daddy Shaking Knees" might seem like a name for a coward, but in fact he got it because in an emergency he held up something heavy for a long time ... and his only sign of strain was that after almost an hour his legs began to tremble just a bit. Also, Dilbians value cleverness, not just physical strength. One Man is very strong, yes — and extremely smart.
  • In the Black Jewels series, Daemon SaDiablo earned the name "The Sadist" even though he was a Sex Slave at the time.
  • Dark Life has Shade. (The other members of the Seablite Gang also only go by their nicknames...but they're less badass. Eel? Kale?)
  • The Stormlight Archive has Dalinar "The Blackthorn" Kholin, and Kaladin who gets called "Stormblessed" (implying that he's incredibly lucky) by two different groups of people who never met each other.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • "Lord Harry"
  • "Do you know what they call me in the ancient legend of the Dalek homeworld? The Oncoming Storm." - and considering what the Doctor's capable of, that might be a mild name.
    • The Face of Boe calls him The Lonely GOD, so there is that.
    • In fact, the name 'the Doctor' fits this trope, as it's the one he chose for himself. Even allowing that, we haven't scratched the surface of badass names and titles he's collected across time and space. Along with 'Lonely God' and 'Oncoming Storm', we have Sir Doctor of TARDIS, the Mighty Warrior, the Trickster, the Madman With A Box and The Last of the Time Lords.
    • The Monsters Of The Week in the 2007 episode Blink have no known name, but in some places they're known as the "Lonely Assassins" or "Weeping Angels".
    • The Last/Lone Centurion.
    • The Classic Series provides "Ka Faraq Gatri" Dalek for "The Destroyer of the Worlds" or "Bringer of Darkness", and "The Evil One". And from the Expanded Universe we have some like "the Champion of Life and Time" and "The Sandman"
    • Thanks to Davros, the past, present, and future companions and allies of the series hero now have the awesome collective title fitting for those who traverse the realms of time and space alongside the Doctor: The Children Of Time!
    • The Master has, well, the Master and Death's Champion.
    • Bad Wolf.
    • Technically Captain Jack Harkness counts, as literally no one knows his real name.
    • Captain John Hart (a.k.a. Spike from the 51st century).
  • All we know is, He's called The Stig.
  • René was a lot more threatening back when he was only known as "The Haitian."
  • Captain Wilton Parmenter led the final charge in the Battle of Appomattox earning him the moniker "Scourge of the West"
  • Entertainingly parodied in Community episode "A Fistful of Paintballs", where Josh Holloway's character is known only as "The Black Rider", resulting in this exchange:

Annie: Who is he?
Troy: We just call him the Black Rider
Annie: Ok... But he's not really riding anything-
Troy: Look, I don't name people, Annie! I'm a deputy. I deputize.

  • Space: Above and Beyond had a Chig ace who habitually shredded entire human squadrons in single engagements, using his prototype interceptor. On one occasion, the humans found out where he was going to be, and sent fifteen squadrons out with the sole mission of finding him and ending him. Thirteen squadrons came back, and they only managed to ward him off temporarily. His nickname? Chiggy Von Richtofen.
    • And all they had to do was send one fighter piloted by McQueen. Well, and piss him off first. The result: the best dogfight in the series.
  • Battlestar Galactica Reimagined had a Cylon ace nicknamed Scar, named for the battle damage that covered his ship/armor. He was the scourge of Galactica and Pegasus's fighter wings for a short time, and was reputed to really have it in for Starbuck, who, due to the Cylon habit of cloning backup copies, had defeated and killed him several times in battle.
    • It's heavily implied that Scar is, in fact, the Raider that Starbuck had shot down, cut open, and flown by poking its insides.
  • John Sheridan, Captain of Babylon 5 from season 2 onward, was known as "Star Killer." He was the only one who managed to destroy a Minbari vessel (The Black Star) during the Earth-Minbari War.
  • Survivor has quite a few contestants that are given these, including Richard Hatch (The King, The Emperor), Jerri Manthey (The Black Widow, The Wicked Witch), Robert DeCanio (The General), Vecepia Towery (The Sneak), Rupert Boneham (The Pirate), Sandra Diaz-Twine (The Queen, The Empress), Cirie Fields, (The Puppet Master), Earl Cole (The Godfather), Benjamin "Coach" Wade (The Dragon Slayer)
  • The eponymous Super Robot Red Baron itself is occasionally referred to as "The Crimson Phoenix". Bonus points for already being called Red Baron.
  • Spike has several: Spike (for murder by railway spike), the Scourge of Europe, William the Bloody (which was originally about his bad poetry, then became about the swathe of destruction he left behind him everywhere he went).
    • Buffy is 'The Slayer'.
    • The Master.
    • Angelus/Angel.
  • A few teams of Super Sentai have superlatives, which share a running theme.
    • The Gaorangers' titles are based off of their patron animal: Red is "Blazing Lion", Yellow is "Noble Eagle", Blue is "Surging Shark", Black is "Iron Bison", White is "Belle Tiger", and Silver is "The Sparking Silver Wolf". Power Rangers Wild Force retained most of these out of necessity (they appear in giant letters when the Rangers use a Finishing Move), but Yellow was changed to "Soaring Eagle", White to "Noble Tiger", and Silver to "Howling Wolf".
    • The Boukengers' nicknames all take the format "The X Adventurer": Red is "Fiery", Black is "Fast", Blue is "High-Flying", Yellow is "Strong", Pink is "Deep Sea", and Silver is "Dazzling".
    • The Gekirangers' nicknames all refer to their specialties as martial artists: Red is "Unbreakable Body", Yellow is "Honest Heart", Blue is "Fantastic Technique", Violet is "Iron Will", and Chopper is "Amazing Ability".
    • In an individual example, Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger's "Boss" Doggie Kruger (a canine alien) calls himself "The Guard Dog of Hell".
    • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger offers a villainous version with The Dragon Damaras, who's called "The Strongest Man in Space". He then backs this name up by curb-stomping The Rival who had up to that point been curb-stomping the Gokaigers, then taking on all six Gokaigers at the same time.


Music[edit | hide]


Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • Professional wrestlers in addition to their stage names will also sometimes use nicknames, the best known is probably Stone Cold Steve Austin being called "The Texas Rattlesnake". As if "Stone Cold" wasn't a Badass enough nickname.
    • The Rock: The People's Champ; The Most Electrifying Man In [All Of/Sports] Entertainment; The Brahma Bull; The Great One.
    • Ric Flair: The Nature Boy; The Dirtiest Player in the Game; Slick Ric; The Real World Heavyweight Champion
    • Bret Hart: The Hitman; The Excellence Of Execution; The Best There Is, The Best There Was, and The Best There Ever Will Be.
    • Shawn Michaels: The Heartbreak Kid; The Main Event; The Showstopper; The Icon; Mr. Wrestlemania.
    • The Undertaker: The Dead Man; The Phenom; Big Evil Red Devil; [The Demon Of/From] Death Valley, The Last Outlaw.
    • Triple H: The Game; The Cerebral Assassin; The King of Kings.
    • Edge: The "Rated R" Superstar; The Ultimate Opportunist.
    • Kane: The Big Red Machine; The Big Red Monster; The Devil Favorite Demon
    • Rob Van Dam: Mr. Pay-Per-View; Mr. [Monday/Thursday] Night; The Whole [Damn/F'n] Show
    • Mark Henry: The World's Strongest Man
    • Rhino: The Man Beast, The War Machine
    • Brock Lesnar: The Next Big Thing
    • Randy Orton: The Legend Killer; The Viper; The Apex Predator
    • Chris Jericho: The Human Highlight Reel; the Highlight of the Night; the King of the World; the Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rollah, The Best in the World at What he Does, Y2J
    • Chris Benoit: The Rabid Wolverine; The Crippler
    • Samoa Joe: The Samoan Submission Machine
    • Evan Bourne: Air Bourne
    • Greg Valentine: The Hammer
    • Hulk Hogan: The Immortal; Hollywood
    • Kevin Nash: Big Daddy Cool (as Diesel); Big Sexy
    • Curt Hennig: Mr. Perfect (which then became his stage name)
    • Brutus Beefcake: The Barber
    • Jim Neidhart: The Anvil
    • Jimmy Hart: Mouth of the South
    • Bobby Heenan: The Brain
    • Ricky Steamboat: The Dragon
    • Scott Hall: The Bad Guy (as Razor Ramon)
    • Umaga: The Samoan Bulldozer
    • Cody Rhodes: Dashing
    • Tommy Dreamer: The Innovator of Violence, The Heart Of ECW
    • Dean Malenko: The Ice Man; Man of 1000 Holds
    • Sabu: The Homicidal, Suicidal, Genocidal, Death Defying Maniac (and Joey Styles somehow managed to get all that out in one breath on ECW TV shows)
    • AJ Styles: The Phenomenal One; Mr TNA
    • Christopher Daniels: The Fallen Angel
    • Sid Vicious: The Millenium Man; The Master of the Powerbomb; The Man Who Rules The World
    • Jeff Jarrett: Double J; The Chosen One; The King of the Mountain, The Founder of TNA
    • Sting: The Man Called Sting; The Icon
    • Scott Steiner: Big Poppa Pump; The Big Bad Booty Daddy; White Thunder; The Genetic Freak; Freakzilla and many more
    • Shane Douglas: The Franchise
    • Chris Kanyon: The Innovator of Offence
    • Christian (Cage): Captain Charisma; The Instant Classic
    • Monty Brown: The Alpha Male
    • Andre the Giant: The Eighth Wonder of the World
    • Chyna: The Ninth Wonder of the World
    • Alex Wright: Das Wunderkind; The German Wrestling Machine
    • La Parka: The Chairman of WCW.
    • Mick Foley: The Senior Asskicker (title given to him by Jon Stewart); The Hardcore Legend
    • Chris Hero: That Young Knockout Kid
    • Claudia Castagnoli: The Most Money-Making Man
    • Bryan Danielson: The American Dragon; The Best in the World
    • CM Punk: The Straight Edge Superstar/Savior; The Second City Saint/Savior; The Best in the World; The Voice Of The Voiceless
    • Homicide: The Notorious 187
    • Sheamus: The Celtic Warrior; The Great White
    • Alberto Del Rio: The Essence of Excellence; The Mexican Aristocrat
    • The Miz: The Awesome One; The Most Must-See WWE Superstar/Champion
    • Beth Phoenix: The Glamazon
    • Jack Swagger: The All-American American
    • John Cena:The Doctor of Thuganomics; The Champ; The Marine; Superman
    • The Big Show: The World's Largest Athlete
    • Ezekiel Jackson: The Personification Of Domination
  • MMA also lends itself to fighters getting nicknames that give you an idea of how awesome they are.
    • Fedor Emelianenko, probably the single best fighter in the world, is nicknamed :The Last Russian Emperor."
    • Ken Shamrock: The World's Most Dangerous Man.
    • Wanderlei Silva: The AX Murderer.
    • Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
    • Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski.
    • Kazuchi Sakuraba: The Gracie Killer (Ouch!)
    • Randy Couture: The Natural, Captain America (comics).
    • Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira: Minotauro (Minotaur)
    • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: Minitoro (Little Bull)
    • Dan "The Beast" Severn.
    • BJ "The Prodigy" Penn
    • Georges "Rush" St. Pierre
    • "The Dean of Mean" Keith Jardine
    • Anderson "The Spider" Silva
    • Jung Chan-Sung: The Korean Zombie


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000 actual title is the Adeptus Astartes, and they are also known as the Angels of Death. The Blood Angels are a chapter of Space Marines, who are Super Soldiers with vampiric characteristics and are known for bloodthirsty assault tactics. A Librarian of theirs is named Mephiston, and is known by them as "the Lord of Death".
    • Let's not forget the humble (but numerous) Imperial Guard. Guardsmen are notoriously expendable, but some have survived long enough to get a reputation. Case in point, the only regiment from planet Tanith narrowly escaped the obliteration of their homeworld, and they're still kind of pissed. Their official designation is the Tanith 1st - generally followed by a defiant chorus of "First and Only!" They also get tagged as Gaunts Ghosts, thanks to their commander's rare appreciation for stealth (and survival). Mention Tanith and you get blank looks, but even Space Marines have heard of Gaunt's Ghosts.
    • Lest we forget, Gaunt's Ghosts aren't the only Imperial Guardsmen of note. There's also Colonel "Iron Hand" Straken, Game Breaker and named after his adamantium hand. And Gunnery Sergeant "Stonetooth" Harker, so named due to his rumored habit of chewing glass instead of tobacco.
    • Going away from individual names, many companies aside Gaunt's Ghosts also have unique and memorable names and histories even if they don't happen to be prominently shown in a particular series of novels, some examples being the Tallarn 3rd "Desert Tigers", the 8th Cadian "The Lord Castellan's Own" and the Catachan 24th "Waiting Death".
    • Every Eldar Phoenix Lord: Asurmen the Hand of Asuryan, Jain Zar the Storm of Silence, Maugan Ra the Harvester of Souls, Baharroth the Cry of the Wind, Fuegan the Burning Lance, and Karandras the Shadow Hunter.
    • The C'tan don't even have proper names, but are known only by a variety of titles. The four remaining C'tan have a bunch of names, but the most common (and the ones used by Games Workshop, for simplicity) are: The Nightbringer, The Deceiver, The Outsider, and The Void Dragon.
    • What, no love for Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!!!
      • Probably because that doesn't really fit the trope at all, being used in-universe only for Cain-centric propaganda. A closer example from Cain is his Perlian nickname. Since he saved numerous people from Orkz during their invasion of Perlia, the first campaign in which he achieved widespread fame, the denizens of that planet call him "The Liberator".
  • BattleTech doesn't make use of nicknames all that often, but we mustn't forget the Bounty Hunter (a Legacy Character by and large only known by that name to all), nor Natasha Kerensky, the (in)famous Black Widow.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • Cyrano De Bergerac: Invoqued by the ballad improvised by Cyrano at Act II Scene VII, The bold cadets of Gascony:

Cyrano: ... Pink-your-Doublet and Slit-your-Trunk
Are their gentlest sobriquets;


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Tommy Vercetti from Grand Theft Auto Vice City earned the nickname "The Harwood Butcher" after a particularly nasty incident in Liberty City in 1971. Tommy was quickly gaining power in the city so his boss, Sonny Forelli, sent him to "kill a man" in the Harwood district of Liberty. Turns out, that man was actually 11 hitmen who were sent to kill Tommy. Long story short, Tommy kills each and every one of those hitmen, earning him the nickname "The Harwood Butcher" and 15 years in jail.
  • Subverted in Super Robot Wars Original Generation 2 where Ibis Douglas has the Badass nickname "Shooting Star"; this is actually an insult as she is a terrible pilot, and the nickname is a reference to the fact that she is constantly crashing her giant robot (in other words, like a shooting star, she's always plummeting to the Earth!). In a parody, her Rival, Sleigh Prestly gains the nickname "The Scarlet Comet" as a joke on Char(partialy because Shooting Star is one of Amuro's Nickname).
    • But Ibis proves herself worthy of such a cool name as the game goes on.
    • Alternate universe Kyouske is known as the "Steel Beowulf", partially cause he leads the Beowulfs and is so damn strong.
      • It's actually just "Beowulf", and it's a codename rather than a nickname (Steel Beowulf is the title of Kyouske's Leitmotif). He is, however, inhumanly strong, not to mention plain evil.
    • Calvina Coulange from Super Robot Wars Judgment was known as "White Lynx" before she quit military.
    • Blessfield Ardygun from Super Robot Wars W is also known has "Hawkeye". It was first use by his father-in-law as compliment for seeing through his daughter's male disguise.
    • Rand Travis from Super Robot Wars Z inherite nickname "The Heat" from his master. Most character recognize him as infamous "The Crusher" though.
    • In the anime, Elzam is known as The Black Tornado.
  • Agronak gro-Malog, the reigning Arena Grand Champion in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion is better known by his nickname The Gray Prince.
    • And if you become the champion, you get to choose a title from a small list of options. This is likely mainly to make it easier to avoid using the character's name in voiced dialogue.
      • The full list is as follows; The Spellslinger, the Butcher, Shadowstep, The Black Arrow, Skullcrusher, the Divine Avenger, the Crimson Blade, the Iron Maiden(female only), Lady Luck(female only), Man o' War(male only), Sir Slaughter(male only), The Tamriel Terror, and Dragonheart.
  • In City of Heroes, players can choose from any number of titles gained through achievements, with such fabulous options as Hellbane, Master at Arms, Binder of Beasts, and The Thief of Midnight.
  • Typically, about halfway through Ace Combat games, the villains and heroes, beginning to respect your legendary status, begin to give you a nickname.
    • Ace Combat 04: The (Blue) Ribbon (Fighter) (Referring to the Mobius Squadron logo, a mobius strip), Ace Combat 5: The Four Wings of Sand Island (4-pilot squadron), Demons/Ghosts of Razgriz (Referring to your pilot's status regarding a myth), Ace Combat Zero: The Demon Lord of the Round Table, Ace Combat X: Nemesis or the Southern Cross, Ace Combat 6: Angels (A blanket term for all allied aircraft).
    • Then comes all the enemy squadron names, which are all badass in just the way they sound, even if it just means yellow/green/red in German (although their are many other languages and themes used), although just being named "Yellow Squadron" seems to make every solider on the opposing army call an all-out retreat with verified results in the amount of kills they take, not to mention being the most famous in the series.
  • In Fallout 3, you get a title that changes depending on your level and alignment - a low-level Good character might be called The Vault Martyr, while a high level Evil character might be called The Ravager. To contrast, a high level Good character may be called The Wasteland Savior, and will be depicted in your Pip-Boy as a kind of Messianic figure. Typically, this only comes up when Three Dog is reporting your exploits.
  • Legate Lanius of Fallout: New Vegas is known as The Monster of the East. For good reason.
  • Skies of Arcadia ties this to your Karma Meter, giving the main character Vyse different titles as his fame increases; the best title a player can earn is "Vyse the Legend".
  • Orlandu of Final Fantasy Tactics received the nickname "Thunder God Cid" (or T.G. Cid for short).
  • Samus Aran is merely referred to as "The Hunter" by the Space Pirates in Metroid Prime.
    • To the Chozo, however, she is known simply as "The Hatchling". Doesn't sound awesome, but in Prime, it has this way of making Samus sound like a figure of myth and legend.
  • Sly 3 has a chapter in which the team must participate in a dogfighting contest held by a character known as the Black Baron.
  • The Covenant refer to the Master Chief from Halo almost exclusively as The Demon. The name Master Chief itself may count, seeing as how it's shorthand for his full name and rank, Master Chief Petty Officer John, SPARTAN-117. His last name is hinted at, but is not released in canon.
    • In the EU, all the Spartans are known as "demons". The current Arbiter will also be called by that; we don't even know the name of the game Arbiter until The Cole Protocol was published.
    • Dutch is called "Death's Helmet" by some.
  • Fable and its sequel allow you to pick your own terrifying nickname. You can be Avenger, Reaper, Deathbringer... Chickenchaser...
  • Two of Killzone's bosses, Colonel Cobar and Colonel Radec have the names "White Death" and "Hound of Visari", respectively. Cobar, due to his having a high kill count, and Radec, because he's head of Visari's personal guard unit, loyal and singular to a fault, and he's an extreme disciplinarian.
    • Especially about uniforms.
  • After killing the dark god ruling their entire organization, the Cabal from Blood refers to Caleb almost exclusively as "The Great Betrayer".
  • Fire Emblem has quite a few of these, such as Karel "The Sword Demon", Raven Raymond of Cornwell, and the entire Black Fang organization (Lloyd the White Wolf, Linus the Mad Dog, Ursula the Blue Crow, Jaffar the Angel of Death, Legault the Hurricane, Uhai the Soaring Hawk, Aion the Owl, Teodor the Shrike), and even weapons get their own nicknames, like Durandal, the Blazing Sword, and Armads, the Thunder Axe). Pretty much, if you're anyone at all in the game, you've got a nickname.
    • It's worth mentioning that this is a tradition in Fire Emblem that often goes hand in hand with their use of Quirky Miniboss Squad. From time to time, those are made out of elite generals of a side and they usually have corresponding titles, the six generals of Grado in the eighth game for example are all named after gemstones.
  • In .hack, this pops up twice. Two of the top players, Orca and Balmung, are known as the Azure Sea and Azure Sky, respectively. After the events of the first quadrilogy of games, Kite becomes known as the Azure Flame. Also, each of the Eight Phases has a title in addition to their name. Some (like The Terror of Death and The Mirage of Deceit) work better than others (The Propagation and The Temptress aren't quite as impressive in comparison).
    • It pops up a third time. Haseo, in a prophetic coincidence, is nicknamed the Terror of Death by other players. It's later found out he has the Avatar of Skeith the phase who held this title. The other Epitatah useers are also referred to by their Phases titles.
      • The Temptress title during is also held by a Bishonen Male Character. Though it's appropriate considering who the player is. Kaoru Ichinose, the player behind Elk, who was best friends with Mia, another form of the Phase Macha: The Temptress.
  • A good deal of the cast of Sengoku Basara. To wit: the One-Eyed Dragon of Oshu (Masamune), the Dragon's Right Eye (Kojyuuro), the Tiger of Kai (Shingen), the Young Tiger (Yukimura), the War-God of Echigo (Kenshin), the Demon King of the Sixth Heaven (Nobunaga), the Strongest in the Warring States Mighty Samurai (Tadakatsu), Shimazu the Beast (Yoshihiro), the Sea Devil of the West (Motochika), the Fox of Ushu (Yoshiaki) and the Dark King (Mitsunari).
  • In certain games in The Legend of Zelda series, when Link proves himself worthy of bearing a title, it is usually "the Hero of X," where X is the element most associated with the installment. For instance, in The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time and The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker, his title is "Hero of Time" and "Hero of Winds," respectively.
    • Bosses are usually introduced with a title in front of their names; sometimes these titles follow a theme in each game. All of The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess's bosses are "The Twilit X", for example. Ganon is an aversion; his name stands on its own.
  • In Wing Commander, the Kilrathi Aces have a lot of these, not limited to: Bhurak Starkiller, Khajja the Fang/The Machine, Dahkhath (translates to 'Deathstroke') Bahktosh Redclaw, Kur Human-Killer, Bhuk Bloodmist, Kramm Deathfang, Naijji Fireclaw, and Marjakh Stalker. Many of them double as Luke Nounverber.
    • The Kilrathi call the player character "The Heart of the Tiger" and see him as the Worthy Opponent to end all Worthy Opponents.
  • In the DS localization, the Four Elemental Archfiends of Final Fantasy IV each have a special title referring to their element, and their status as a "lord" of the elements.
    • The Blighted Despot, Scarmiglione.
    • The Drowned King, Cagnazzo.
    • The Empress of Winds, Barbariccia.
    • The Autarch of Flames, Rubicante.
      • His title is interesting in that autarchism is about self rule, with no government whatsoever. True to form, he's different from the other archfiends, being a Noble Demon who recognizes strength and prefers to fight like gentlemen.
  • Touhou has Remilia Scarlet, otherwise known as "The Scarlet Devil" because her once pure white dress is now dyed red due to her...eating habits.
    • Her Ninja Maid, Sakuya, is likewise known as the Dog of the Devil.
    • And then Flandre Scarlet, the Sister of the Devil. Who would probably have gotten an even more terrifying title if she was not kept in her basement at all times, since she pretty much accidentally blows up anyone she sets her eyes on. Shoot the Bullet refers to her by the title of "Diabolic Wave".
    • All the characters have a title that appears on the screen alongside their name when they are introduced.
  • Two game-breakingly powerful glitch strategies from Final Fantasy VI gave us two Fan Nicknames with these connotations. "Wind-God" Gau, and "Psycho" Cyan.
  • The Red Cyclone, Zangief. Later on, we'd get the Double Agent Crimson Viper.
    • As a matter of fact, Capcom bothered to give such an epithet to all the characters of the license in the Street Fighter World Warrior Encyclopedia. Ryu and Ken, for instance, are respectively the "Eternal Seeker" and the "Fire of the Rising Dragon", while Crimson Viper is labeled as "Miss Perfect".
  • Iron Tager from BlazBlue is known to some as the Red Devil, though he's not proud of it.
    • Ragna the Bloodedge, also known as The Grim Reaper and his brother Major Jin Kisaragi, the Hero of Ikaruga.
  • Tekken has Sergei Dragunov, "The White Angel of Death" - possibly a nod towards Alfredo Astiz, "The Blonde Angel of Death."
  • Kamui Tokinomiya of Arcana Heart, also known as the "Thousand Years Protector".
  • Kratos, the Ghost Of Sparta.
  • In most Bioware and Obsidian roleplaying games they resort to this trope to avoid having to voice the player's customizable name, mostly using "our leader" or "the Captain" in Neverwinter Nights 2 and the Knights of the Old Republic games, and 'you' in Neverwinter Nights and Jade Empire.
    • Jade Empire also uses the fact that The Empire doesn't know your character's name or what he/she looks like (no adversaries have survived encounters with you) to have people in the capital giving speeches on the dangers of the Scourge of the South.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Garrus earns himself the nickname Archangel in Omega.
    • Not to mention that the player character can be known, alternately, as 'The Butcher of Torfan', 'The Savior of Elysium', 'The Hero of the Citadel', et cetera, depending on their background and in-game choices.
  • Gordon Freeman of Half-Life, known by labels such as "The One Free Man" or "The Opener of the Way" after his actions during the Black Mesa incident.
    • The Combine views such labels as examples of dangerous and primitive thinking, but that doesn't stop the Overwatch calling him "Anticitizen One."
    • They call Alyx "Vance Subprime". That might count.
  • In the Dynasty Warriors series, Sun Jian is known as the "Tiger of Jiang Dong"
    • There's more than a few of these. We have "The Hero of Chaos" Cao Cao, "The Sleeping Dragon" Zhuge Liang, "The Fledgling Phoenix" Pang Tong, "The Little Conquerer" Sun Ce, on and on. Samurai Warriors is just as bad.
  • In Iji, no matter if you take a path of absolute peace or overwhelming violence, the titular character is known to the aliens simply as the "Human Anomaly". Doesn't sound quite awesome? The logs you find prove that it's enough to strike all manner of fear into the Tasen...
  • The Unreal Tournament verse has dozens of competitors fighting under aliases, especially in the first game. Example: the backstory of one of the competitors - Jesse Davis - explains that he's a "'deep freeze' cold world combat specialist", capable of surviving on melted ice for weeks. Hence the name "Ice Weasel".
  • Creator example: Doom co-creator Romero was nicknamed "The Surgeon" for his proficiency in FPS deathmatch.
  • Miles Edgeworth picked up the nickname "Demon Prosecutor" for his ruthless actions in court. He's never called this after he's finished his Heel Face Turn, however.
    • Angel Starr, a former detective appearing in one case, was known as the "Cough-up Queen" due to her ability to get even the most hardened criminal to spill information.
  • In Soul Nomad and The World Eaters, Revya in the Demon Path gets called the "Devourlord".
  • Luminous Arc has Sir Heath, "The Cleansing Flame."
  • Any creature in Dwarf Fortress that makes notable kills can acquire Red Baron notoriety, with titles expanding toward Try to Fit That on A Business Card (i.e. Razorpelt the Armored Machine of the Abyss.)
    • Of course, given that these titles are randomly generating, you're just as likely to end up as "Urist the Raisin of Shrinking".
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog series, Shadow is referred to, by himself and others, as the "Ultimate Lifeform"
  • Georg Prime from the Suikoden series has people across two continents calling him "Deathblow" like it's his first name, and you better believe that he can live up to it.
  • In Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, all of the Tsviets have a title of some sort. They are: Azul the Cerulean, Shelke the Transparent, Rosso the Crimson, Nero the Sable, and their leader, Weiss the Immaculate.
  • In Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, all of the Glitz Pit fighters have at least one Red Baron:
    • The Great Gonzales (Mario): The Merciless Executioner (first run), The Superstar Sequel (second run)
    • The Goomba Bros.: The Hoppin' Hardheads (first run), The Meteorite Hardheads (second run)
    • The KP Koopas: The Shell Machines Of Doom
    • The Pokey Triplets: The Spiked Terror Triplets
    • The Dead Bones: The Bone-Banging Rockers
    • Spike Storm: The Midnight Spike-Bombers
    • The Hand-It-Overs: The Grim Death Burglars
    • The Mind-Bogglers: The Gray Entanglers
    • The Punk Rocks: The Green Torture Squad
    • The Bob-omb Squad: The Big Bomb Boomers
    • The Wings Of Night: The Sleepy Stealth Scythe
    • The Destructors: The Flying Bullets
    • The Armored Harriers: The Iron Adonis Twins
    • The Tiny Spinies: The Thorny Demons
    • The Poker Faces: The Ultimate Weapons
    • The Shellshockers: The Turtles Of Hurtle
    • The Fuzz: The Bottomless Vacuums
    • The Magikoopa Masters: The Underworld Servants
    • Craw-Daddy: The Dark Gatekeeper
    • Hamma Bamma and Flare: The Big Bad Brute Bros.
    • Chomp Country: The Red Ore Fear Orbs
    • The Koopinator: The Razor Blade Brigadier
    • Rawk Hawk: The Feral Nuclear Reactor
  • Kingdom Hearts gives us the Organization XIII members, all of whom sport unique monikers ranging from Badass to Narm and anywhere in between. To whit, we have: Xemnas "The Superior of the In-Between," Xigbar "The Freeshooter," Xaldin "The Whirlwind Lancer," Vexen "The Chilly Academic," Lexaeus "The Silent Hero," Zexion "The Cloaked Schemer," Saïx "The Luna Diviner," Axel "The Flurry of Dancing Flames," Demyx "The Melodious Nocturne," Luxord "The Gambler of Fate," Marluxia "The Graceful Assassin," Larxene "The Savage Nymph," and Roxas "The Key of Destiny." Xion, the fourteenth member, is the only one not given a title.
  • Armored Core has Nineball in the PS2 era games and later White Glint in 4 and For Answer.
  • In Medieval 2: Total War, your generals (and a number of your agents such as princesses and assassins) can get these sorts of titles. Sometimes it's the normal, awe inspiring names like King Edward the Chivalrous, Prince Louis the Brave, etc. However, if your general has too many of the wrong personality traits, you can get epithets like King Henry the Cuckold, Erik the Lewd, Doge Barbus the Queen, or Prince Hassan the Idiot...
  • In the Metal Gear Solid series, Big Boss has an entire mythology based around him. Big Boss has fought in countless wars and saved the world from nuclear war a total of 3 times over the course of a Military career spanning 50 years. The United States used him as a basis for how to model their soldiers and even took some of his DNA to genetically modify their soldiers. Other countries marveled at his legendary skills and some even doubted that he existed thinking no one man could accomplish all the things he did. Big Boss rightfully earned titles ranging from The Legendary Mercenary, the man who makes anything possible, One-Eyed Jack, Saladin (referencing the famous commander from the Crusades), and the greatest soldier of the 20th century. Big Boss was shrouded in myth by enemies and allies alike.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Mr. L nicknames himself the Green Thunder.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Last Res 0 rt has several characters with nicknames, though not all get used in the comic/show itself. Of note among the ones that do: Jason "Ace of" Spades, Silk of the Solar Winds aka "White Noise", and Kurt "Geisha" Straieta.
  • Goblins has Señor Vorpal Kickass'o!
  • Achewood gives us Rodney Leonard Stubbs, known as "The Man With The Blood On His Hands" for his badassery in the Great Outdoor Fight. "Son of Rodney", his son Ray, isn't half bad either.
  • Sluggy Freelance had Torg fall back in time into an Army of Darkness pastiche, where the townsfolk called him "The Stormbreaker" based on his destiny to defeat a demon. They weren't entirely accurate, though... Zoe was the real Stormbreaker.
  • City of Reality: after the events in Magic World, Todo's been nicknamed "The Soul of Reality." Since Reality itself is legendary for its Incorruptible Pure Pureness, that really means something.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • In the Whateley Universe, Tennyo has picked up the nickname 'Disaster Dame'. She doesn't like it, and insists those catastrophes weren't her fault.
    • Tennyo, aka Billie Wilson, has other, even worse nicknames. Like 'The Scourge' and 'Stalker of the Stars' (or 'Starstalker').
  • All Brutes fear "The Black Sangheili". Considering that Rukth 'Kilkar is indeed capable of slaughtering hundreds of foes without breaking a sweat and with only one eye, this is justified.
  • Fate Nuovo Guerra, owing to Servants being legendary heroes, features several, such as "Dragon King" for Uther Pendragon, "Cunning Odysseus", "Godlike Achilles", "El Cid Campeador", for well, El Cid, "Scourge of God" for Attila the Hun, etc.
  • In The Salvation War, Humanity is kicking demon butt so thoroughly that the Lords of Hell start calling them "The Lords of War."
  • Some of the players in AH World Cup have badass nicknames. This includes, but not limited to: Murray Humperdick ("Bloody Murder"), Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ("The Armored Dinner Jacket"), etc.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Aang—The Avatar, The Last Airbender
    • Zuko—The Blue Spirit
    • Toph—The Blind Bandit, The Runaway
    • Iroh—The Dragon of the West. There are two stories for how he got his name. One says it's because he can breathe fire after drinking tea, but it later turns out that you get the title of "dragon" by actually killing a dragon (though he lied about killing the last one).
      • This is probably twofold; in the Fire Nation any Firebender who slays a dragon is given the title of dragon. His also being known as "Dragon" among the Earth Kingdom and Water Tribe would be because of his formidable combat prowess and Breath Weapon (the Fire Nation might have a lot of dragons, but Iroh is The Dragon).
    • Combustion Man, or his other name, Sparky Sparky Boom Man (we never learn his real name).
    • THE BOULDER is FURIOUS that nobody's mentioned him (and the other Earthbending fighters) yet!
    • Many of the Freedom Fighters (The Duke, Pipsqueak, Longshot, Sneers)--Jet and Smellerbee are the two exceptions.
  • In an example very close to the Trope Namer: "The Dark Ace" from Storm Hawks.
  • The Red Lynx from the Swat Kats episode "The Ghost Pilot" is a perfect example. Not only is he an Expy of the Trope Namer, but he's known only by his two nicknames; his real name is never revealed.


Real Life[edit | hide]

Military, politics etc.[edit | hide]

  • The aforementioned Manfred von Richtofen, THE Red Baron. Those who actually knew the man would recount how approachable he was to those in the squadron he led, commenting that he was quite friendly and would joke around with his fellow pilots. Still, it says a lot that his sworn enemies gave the man a burial with full military honors, out of sheer respect for his prowess and valor as a fellow Sky Warrior. It is even rumored that tears were shed at the funeral by those who lost friends to his red triplane's gunfire. The fact that Richtofen was only in his early twenties during his career and airplane technology was relatively new and yet he still managed to shoot down 80 freaking planes, it's no surprise why everyone in the war respected the guy. Which also makes his death somewhat ironic - he wasn't killed by an enemy pilot, but by a lucky shot from a machine gunner on the ground (after being chased down there by an enemy pilot; while the circumstances are sketchy, the lethal rounds were confirmed to be infantry-grade). He managed to make a controlled landing right before he bled out.
  • Another German example: Erwin "The Desert Fox" Rommel. In fact this trope could just as easily have been called The Desert Fox, if Rommel didn't already have a trope named after him. Rommel's son Manfred said that he was glad of the compliment because he knew the British had learned to appreciate foxes from hunting them. But he would have liked lion even more then fox.
  • Vlad Dracula was also known as Vlad Tepes, Tepes meaning "Impaler" cause, well, that is what he did. The Turks were very frightened of him, and mounted his head on the walls of Istanbul, to assure people that he was really dead. Consider the fact this man basically saw the Turks invading his land, turned to the Turkish prisoners and said 'Well, they aren't doing anything', and created a forest of roughly 30,000 impaled Turkish soldiers.
    • In addition, the name 'Dracula' is derived from dracul, the old Romanian word for dragon. Vlad's father was a knight of the Order of the Dragon, and so Vlad's name means 'son of the dragon'. That's so awesome that if it wasn't true, someone would've had to make it up. Dracul can also mean devil, which also makes it appropriate for anyone who could scare away the Turkish army—and for the demonic imagery Bram Stoker used in his novel several centuries later.
  • From the American West was John Johnson, also known as Liver Eatin' Johnson, also known as the Dapiek Absaroka, meaning the Crow-Killer, note: the Crow as in the Tribe of Indians, not the Corvid.
  • Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Calamity Jane (double-trope breaker: a female and a "good guy"), or her "partner in crime," lawman "Wild Bill" Hickok, John Henry "Doc" Holliday and of course entertainer "Buffalo Bill" Cody.
    • Doc Holliday was actually a doctor; he was a dentist, though he didn't practice much. Wild Bill is something of a subversion; his name wasn't William or any form there of, it was James. His nickname was originally "Duck Bill" Hickok, in reference to his rather large nose.
      • He actually had a fairly successful practice until he was diagnosed with Tuberculosis...in which he became the gambling drunkard gunmen from hell that we know him as. Fun fact: While Doc most definitely had some of the fastest hands in the west, his accuracy wasn't all that good. In fact, one of the few times he was confirmed to have shot someone was an accident. He hit the barkeep instead of the man he was aiming for.
  • Sir Francis Drake was known in Latin as Franciscus Draco: Francis the Dragon.
  • A Finnish example: Simo Häyhä, the sniper or the single greatest killing machine in human history. He achieved over 700 kills in less than 100 days during the Winter War, also known as the "White Death". The cutest thing about the name is that "the white death" also means sugar.
  • Harry Järv, a Finno-Swedish officer during the Winter War, who due to his many successful behind-the-lines missions was given the nickname "Järven" (The Wolverine). Remind you of someone? His name is nearly a pun in itself since "Djärv" (pronounced identically) means "Bold"...
  • Another WWII example is Die Nachthexen (the Night Witches), the Soviet all-women 588th Night Bomber Regiment; their old wooden adapted cropdusters were hard to shoot down because they were slower than the stall speed of the German Messerschmitts and Focke-Wulf fighters. This meant that whenever someone managed to get near them, they'd have to slow down to a point where the plane stalls and becomes unable to fly anymore.
  • Henri I, duc de Guise, was called le balafré, meaning Scarface.
  • Ivan the Terrible. In Russian, "groznyi" really means something closer to "fearsome" or "formidable". Which is just as awesome.
  • A lot of medieval Vikings had fantastic nicknames: Erik Bloodaxe, Ivar the Boneless, Erik the Priest-hater, Sigurd the Crusader, Sweyn Forkbeard, etc. Thought these were made up by English historians who needed an easy way to separate historical vikings from each other. It didn't end with the end of the Viking Age though. During the later middle-ages we still have names like Erik Lisp and Lame, Valdemar the Victorious, Magnus Barefoot...
    • Æthelred the Unready. Not because he lacked preparation, but because he lacked advisors ('unready' meaning 'not counselled'. Ironic, because his name Æthelred meant "well advised")
    • Another fun one is Roric Ring-Slinger. The origin of his name depends on who you ask: allies said it was because of his generosity in handing out gold rings to his men; enemies said it was because of an incident where he was the judge of a boat-race, and when he tried to throw the prize (a ring) from his ship to the winner, he fell short by a good thirty feet, and the racers gave him the nickname as an insult. Incidentally, he was the father of four famous Vikings: Ivar the Bonelsss (the brains of the four, born with no bones in his legs), Iron-Sides (strongest and biggest), Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye (an extra-badass warrior with a peculiar pattern on one of his irises), and White-Shirt (who had a really clean shirt.)
      • You are mixing up your Viking Heroes- which is admittedly easy, the four mentioned- and more- were the sons of Regnar Lodbrog, a semi-historical King (we know he lived and served Horek/Erik of Denmark and that he got paid Danegeld to not plunder Paris on 28 March 845, but not that he was King) whereas Roric Ringslyngeren is a purely mythical "Lejre-King" who would have lived in the 6th century if we could be certain that he even lived.
  • Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, was known as the Iron Duke, One of many 'Iron' titles popular at the time
    • Which, while badass, may be a subversion in context. To quote The Other Wiki: "An opponent of parliamentary reform, he was given the epithet the "Iron Duke" because of the iron shutters he had fixed to his windows to stop the pro-reform mob from breaking them."
    • Otto von Bismarck was known as the "Iron Chancellor". True, he wasn't a soldier, but he was such a supreme political genius that the moniker was well earned. Bismark also gave a very important speech which convinced the Prussian Reichstag Abgeordnetenhaus (House of Deputies) to make their military stronger, eventually leading to the unification of the German states. It was called the 'Blood and Iron' speech. On 30 September 1862, when he said "The great issues of the day are not decided by speeches and majority decisions - that was the error of 1848 and 1849 - but by iron and blood." However, the massive expansion of the Prussian Army was at that point already going on for two years.
    • Margaret Thatcher gained the title "The Iron Lady" after a strong anti-Communist speech. Red Star (the newspaper of the Reds With Rockets) gave her that name, and it wasn't intended as a compliment. She was not yet PM at this point.
    • Golda Meir, first female Prime Minister of Israel, also got the "Iron Lady" title.
    • Napoleon's Marshal Louis Nicolas Davout, Duke of Auerstaedt and Prince of Eckmuhl, was known as the Iron Marshal.
    • One of the most famous fighting units of the Army of the Potomac was the "Iron Brigade" (originally called the "Black Hat Brigade").
  • El Cid Campeador, the national hero of Spain. "El Cid" is the Spanified version of Arabian Al-Sidi, which means "Lord" and Campeador comes from the Latin "campi doctus," "expert in battle." The Lord Master of Battles is so Badass it hurts...
    • His equivalent in Al-Andalus was Muhammad Ibn Abi Aamir, who is still known in Spain as Almanzor, from Al-Mansur, "The Victorious One".
  • Caligula was not that emperor's actual name, which was Gaius Julius Caesar Germanicus (with Augustus thrown in there after becoming emperor). The nickname comes from his being raised in an army camp and wearing miniature soldiers' boots. Lots of Romans are known by their cognomina, which were official 'nicknames' of sorts (Caesar, Cicero, Augustus, Germanicus, and so on).
    • Cicero actually means "chick-pea" and the poor guy (not Marcus Tullius Cicero but one of his ancestors) got stuck with it because his nose apparently looked like a chick-pea. Whether this was actually the case, or just slander that was going around in his day, is uncertain.
    • Cognomina might not quite fall under this trope as many were attached to family lines instead of individuals. Cicero, Caesar, Torquatus, and Brutus are examples of such inherited nicknames.
    • Perhaps the best known (at the time anyway) Roman example of this trope was Scipio Africanus. He was born Publius Cornelius Scipio and the Africanus was added after he kicked ungodly amounts of Carthaginian ass in the Second Punic War, including defeating Hannibal (who had already crushed the better part of a dozen Roman armies, usually when badly outnumbered) with more or less even odds at the battle of Zama.
    • Cognomina were more like nicknames that distinguished one branch of a family from another; for example, C. Julius Caesar was Gaius of the Caesar branch of the Julian clan. The Caesar probably came from an ancestor, like Cicero did. Nicknames like "Africanus" were called agnomina, and were given for a person's own deeds or appearance (Like Mucius Scaevola - the last part means "lefty," and he burned his right hand off rather than betray Rome - or Appius Claudius Caecus - Caecus means "blind").
  • Charles "The Hammer" Martel, grandfather of Charlemagne. To the point where Martel eventually became a word meaning hammer in French. Interestingly, in Dutch the word "martel" means "torture". (The verb, so: "ik martel" translates to "I torture", "hij martelt" to "he tortures", and so on.) The emphasis is off, but it's probably telling that the Dutch generally feel no need to add the hammer part to his name.
    • That is because "Martel" already means "hammer". It is short for "Martellus" (Charles Martel is called "Karl Martell" in German and Carolus Martellus in Latin), a name derived from martellum (a variant of marculus), "little hammer". ("Martellus" in later centuries was also used as a Latinized form of German surnames Hammer and Klopfer ("knocker, thumper")).
    • Other Hammers:
      • Judah Maccabee (makkab = hammer), whose byname was also applied to the dynasty he founded.
      • Edward I of England, known as the Hammer of the Scots (called that on his grave in Latin: Malleus Scotorum).
      • Tom DeLay, former Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, named as such for his governing style.
  • Charlemagne himself. The name literally means 'Charles the Great'. He was actually named after his grandfather.
    • In Latin that was "Carolus magnus", and it is a measure of how awe-inspiring that name was that it is thought that the popularity of "Magnus" as a first name in Northern Europe is based on it. While in many Slavic languages the word for "king" is derived from "Carolus" - e. g. in Russian it is krol and in Polish it is król (while "Charles" is "Karol").
    • His father was called Pepin the Short, which is quite a contrast.
  • Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick I Barbarossa, literally meaning Red Beard. Not a terribly badass nickname, but he's still considered one of Germany's great heroes.
  • King Henry V of England (the one Shakespeare wrote a play about) was called 'The Butcher of Agincourt'... though not by the English.
  • George H. Thomas, one of the lesser known commanders of The American Civil War today, had two nicknames given to him during the Western campaigns. At the route at Chickamauga, Thomas rallied several Union units to allow the rest of the Army to retreat back to Chattanooga. On Snodgrass Hill, his command stood as a rock, earning him the nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga". Later, during the Battle of Nashville, his breaking up of the Confederate Army of Tennessee under John Bell Hood earned him the title "The Sledge of Nashville."
  • Several "Black" nicknames:
    • Edward, Prince of Wales, "the Black Prince".
    • The French General Thomas Dumas (the father of Alexandre) was know as the "Black Devil": the irony is, while he gained this name thanks to his black skin and his very authentic badassery (holding a bridge against the Austrian army while being shot six times and emerging alive and victorious), he was perhaps the most honourable general of the French Revolution (refusing to participate in pillage, denouncing the slaughters in Vendée, remaining faithful to the ideals of the Revolution).
    • Duke Frederick William of Brunswick, the "Black Duke". He and the free corps he raised in 1809 to fight against Napoleon was dressed in black in memory of his father, duke Charles William Frederick, mortally wounded at Auerstedt in 1806.
    • On a related note, famed Spanish guerilla leader Juan Martin Diaz (1775-1823) was better known as el Empecinado, the "pitch-man", because of the black earth of his home. In 1814 a royal decree gave him permission to use Empecinado as his name instead of Diaz.
    • General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing got his nickname from his tenure as commander of the 10th US Cavalry, a unit of African-American soldiers.
      • This one was somewhat bowdlerized by newspapers and history books: Pershing's original nickname was "Black-Assed Jack."
    • Another example of a menacing nicknamed flying ace is the highest scoring ace of all time, Erich Hartmann, the 'Black Devil', who flew for the German Luftwaffe during World War II and had a staggering 352 victories. Nearly all of these were against Soviet pilots on the Eastern Front, however, so he never gained much notice amongst the Americans and British. He got the name from the black tulip painted on the front of his plane, which he eventually had to remove because all his potential targets tended to run once they saw it.
      • Hartmann was also called the Blonde Knight and Bubi, an affectionate version of 'little boy' in German, by his allies.
  • From the American Revolutionary war we have Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion, who is considered one of the fathers of modern guerilla warfare. He was given this name by Col. Banastre Tarleton, who had been ordered to kill him but was never able to because of Marion's use of the South Carolina swamp lanes.
  • From The American Civil War: General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson supposedly gained his nickname from his unflinching resolve in the face of enemy fire (or his refusal to move his men in support of another regiment, depending on which story you believe.)
    • "There stands Jackson like a stone wall" is generally accepted as the quote that caused the name.
      • Although it's unclear whether or not it was actually meant as a compliment. The man who said it, Brigadier General Barnard E. Bee, was in the midst of having his brigade destroyed while Jackson's brigade was standing "like a stone wall." While the conventional interpretation today is that it refers to how Jackson's men were holding off the Yankees, many historians think it was actually meant as a passive-aggressive swipe at Jackson for not supporting and reinforcing Bee's men. Bee died shortly thereafter so nobody knows for sure.
      • This Troper had a great-great-uncle who was actually named after him. Best part? Same surname. However, this was due to the fact that he was a direct male-line descendant of the paternal uncle of a certain badass U.S. President of the same surname. Worst part? He hated his name. His nickname "Stoney", wasn't any better. Likely, anyone who thinks Stonewall Jackson and Old Hickory are related may be related likely has him mixed up. Probably because his name really was Stonewall, and T.J. Jackson's wasn't, but some may assume so. Sad thing is that he was born after the original died.
  • Imperial General Matthias Gallas was known as "The army destroyer". Unfortunately, they weren't talking about the armies of his enemies...
  • Many of the bynames that monarchs tends to acquire fit into this. Everything from the standard "the Great" to ones like "plowpenny".
    • Richard the Lion Hearted.
    • Special note should perhaps be given to the Mughal sultans: The names they are usually remembered under (Babur, Akbar, Aurungzib, Shah Jahan...) weren't their actual names but more like descriptions. Akbar is especially funny as he is in western sources often called "Akbar the Great", which is redundant because Akbar * already* means "The Greater" (the comparative form of the Arabic adjective "kabir" = "great"). Shah Jahan means "emperor of the world". Babur means "the tiger".
  • Sanada Yukimura from the Sengoku period. After an impressive display of valor and one mighty Foe-Tossing Charge, Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was his target, honored him with the title "Japan's Number One Soldier".
    • He's also known as "Demon of the Crimson Lotus" (due to his and his troops' trademark red armor), which is seriously cool. There was even a folk song comparing him to a demon (in a good way, mind you).
  • Chinggis Khan is an excellent example, as the name he is best known by is a title taken after he united Mongolia, not his birth name, which was Temujin. The exact meaning of his title is unknown, with numerous translations proposed, from 'Oceanic Ruler', to 'Ruler of All People Who Live in Felt Tents'. The other style of this trope, similar to the Norse and Medieval examples, was (and still is) common in Mongolia, with most people's 'last' names being monikers like 'the Brave', 'the Wrestler', and so on.
  • One that's so common it's often overlooked, Mohandas Gandhi is commonly known as "Mahatma" Gandhi, an honorific meaning "great soul" in Sankrit. Ask about "Mohandas" Gandhi, and most people will just give you a blank stare. (In everyday speech in modern India, he is referred to as Gandhiji, i.e. "honourable Gandhi".)
  • Ask about T. E. Lawrence, and most people have no idea what you mean, but everyone has heard of "Lawrence of Arabia."
  • President Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson, who earned his name during the War of 1812, for standing as "tough as old hickory" wood on the battlefield. Later, when President, Jackson beat off an attempted assassin with a cane. Whether the cane was hickory or not is unknown.
    • The Creek Indians (whom he slaughtered) called him Jacksa Chuya Haryo, "Jackson, Old and Fierce". And this was fifteen years before he became President.
    • Zachary Taylor, President twenty years after Jackson, was also renowned for his military prowess, and was nicknamed "Old Rough and Ready". Ironically, he died not much more than a year into his term.
  • The Iroquis Indians' nickname for George Washington was Town Destroyer.
  • Carlos Hathcock, legendary American sniper of the Vietnam War, best known for performing a real life example of a Scope Snipe. Known amongst the Viet Cong and N.V.A. as Lông Tr?ng, "White Feather", due to the white feather he kept in a band on his bush hat.
  • Another Vietnam War example, the entire Australian SASR were known to the Viet Cong as "The Phantoms of The Jungle" due to them using the same guerrilla tactics as the Viet Cong, as well as achieving an average kill ratio of 500 to 1.
  • Russian general Mikhail Skobelev was known as the "White General" (and by the Turks as the "White Pasha").
  • Timur, founder of the Timurid Empire, possible descendant of Genghis Khan, "Tamerlane" to some, "The Scourge of God" to everyone else.
    • Attila was known as the Scourge of God nearly a millennium earlier, but in a different part of the world.
      • While "Attila" itself apparently was not his real name but one given to him as a title of honour. It is generally believed to be a diminutive of the Gothic word atta, "father".
  • Alfredo Astiz, El Angel Rubio de la Muerte (The Blond Angel of Death). This moniker may or may not have stood as inspiration for Dragunov's (The White Angel of Death).
  • Another English example: King Edward 'Hammer of the Scots' the I. Needless to say, the Scots weren't very fond of him. At 6'2", Edward was extremely tall for his era, earning him another Badass nickname, Longshanks.
  • Sir James Douglas, a.k.a. 'The Black Douglas' who led a contingent that pursued the fleeing English army back across the border and went on to wreak havoc in the North of England with his fast raiding force of mounted infantry
  • A number of Ottoman Sultans had such monikers. For example, Mehmed II is better known as Fatih (The Conqueror) and Suleiman I is known as Kanuni (Lawmaker?) in Turkish and as the Magnificent in English.
  • Ace Pilot Hans-Joachim Marseille, known in his lifetime as Der Stern Von Afrika, The Star of Africa.
  • Ahmad Shah Massoud, the Afghanistan resistance leader against the Soviet Union and later on, the Taliban. Earned the name Lion of Panjshir, which also puns as Lion of Five Lions in Persian.
  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Born Mustafa, given the nickname Kemal (perfection) by his math teacher, later given the last name Atatürk (father of the Turkish people) by the Turkish parliament.
  • George "Blood and Guts" Patton, anybody?
  • The Devil's Brigade, a joint American/Canadian Special Forces unit in WWII and the subject of a decent, if slightly inaccurate, movie. So named by the Germans -- "Der Teufel's Brigade". Not only were they fearsomely capable in combat, but they used to terrify their enemies by doing things such as sneaking through their camp in the middle of the night sticking leaflets on their tents with a picture of a skull and crossbones and the inscription "The worst is yet to come...".
  • Another famous example is William the Conqueror, who only achieved that title after he conquered England. Before that, he was just the Duke of Normandy and had a slightly less Badass nickname "William the Bastard" due to his father having never married his mother.
  • Przemysl II Ottokar, King of Bohemia, the "Iron and Golden King"
  • Sir Henry Morgan, one of the most successful pirates and privateers in history, was known as The Sword of England.
  • Sir David Striling, the original founder of the SAS, was nicknamed "The Phantom Major" by the German forces. So badass was this nickname, that he wasn't even recognized when captured. Due to the terror that this nickname had inspired, he was assumed to be much bigger and scarier than he was, a surprising achievement when you realise that Stirling was already six foot six.

Religion[edit | hide]

  • The most common name for a famous religious figure: "Christ" comes from the Greek word "Christos", meaning "Anointed."
  • Older Than Feudalism: Along very similar lines to Jesus Christ (and even older), "Buddha," loosely translated, means "The Awakened One."
  • Jesus had two disciples called Simon, one was called Simon the Zealot, the other "the Rock", in Greek Petros, which became the popular Christian name "Peter". In French Peter is Pierre, while "rock, stone" is pierre.
  • Jesus also had three disciples called Judah or Judas, one of whom was referred to as Thomas (via Greek Didymos from the Aramaic for "twin") and another, later also known as Jude, as Thaddeus (meaning disputed, could come from a Hebrew word meaning "valiant" or "wise", but could also be a variant of "Theodore"). Both Thomas and Thaddeus became first names in their own right.
  • Jesus had two more disciples, the brothers James and John, sons of Zebedee. Jesus called them the "Sons of Thunder".
  • Giovanni Bernardone was nicknamed Francesco (Latin: Franciscus), "Frenchman", by his father, an Assisi merchant trading with France. Nobody calls St. Francis of Assisi Giovanni anymore.

Sports[edit | hide]

  • Say Cro Cop on an MMA board and everyone will know who you're talking about Mirko Filipovic.
  • The Big O, AKA Oscar Robertson.
  • Basketball Players especially in the 70's all had nicknames like this. In a subversion, Wilt Chamberlain was called the uncool "The Stilt"; he preferred "The Big Dipper."
  • Magic Johnson. If you just say "Magic", you know exactly who everyone is talking about, and it's not the team in Orlando. Incidentally, his real name is Earvin.
  • His Airness. In NBA message boards, he's just known as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).
  • Hardly anyone needs to ask who 'The Great One' is, but for the record, it's the Ambassador of Hockey, Wayne Gretzky.
  • Babe Ruth of baseball fame probably holds the record for most nicknames like "The Babe," "The Sultan of Swat," "The King of Swing," and "The Great Bambino". He is almost never referred to by his real name, George Herman Ruth, Junior.
  • Massively famous Japanese karateka Gogen Yamaguchi was known as "the Cat", most likely because of his grace of movement and his small size. An unfortunately apocryphal story asserts that he acquired this name when he strangled a tiger while locked in a cage with it in a Russian (or sometimes Chinese) POW camp, which just goes to shows how much awe people held for him.
  • Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez, during his baseball career, was hardly ever referred to by his real name.
  • A billiards player has one of these. Billiards Congress of America Hall of Fame member Lou Butera was known as "Machine Gun Lou" for his rapid-fire style of play, a moniker earned due to a match in 1973 where he reached a score of 150 in 21 minutes.
    • Add to that Jamie "Shotgun" Cope, Ronnie "The Rocket" O'Sullivan, Ding "Enter the Dragon" Junhui, John "Wizard of Wishaw" Higgins ...
    • From the halls of Italian billiards, past and present Masters: Angelo "Lord Brummel" Bellocchio, Laurdes "Napoleon" Cavallari, Vitale "Terminator" Nocerino and Daniele "The Gladiator" Montereali.
    • "Hurricane" Higgins, "Whirlwind" White, errrr...."Interesting" Davis?
  • Alberto Tomba "La Bomba".
  • Guy Lafleur, former hockey player for the Montréal Canadiens, was nicknamed "Le Démon Blond" (The Blond Demon), for what should be obvious reasons. He was also frequently called "Le Fleur" (The Flower) in allusion to his own name, but that's not nearly as intimidating.
  • German footballer Franz Beckenbauer is also known as the "Kaiser".
    • "Kaiser" means "Emperor" in German. Thus, other German "badasses" are also called Kaiser (Michael Schumacher, for example.)
      • Michael Schumacher, during his Ferrari career, was widely knows as the Red Baron, in fact.
      • Though in Germany "Kaiser" is reserved to Beckenbauer. He got his nickname from a radio reporter in a game in which his club Bayern Munich defeated Schalke 04 and his own performance totally outshone that of Schalke's star player Reinhard Libuda, then known to his fans as "the King" (der König). Libuda, a very good player in his own right, is remembered to this day as "Stan" Libuda (after Sir Stanley Matthews).
  • Ask any Nascar fan about "The Intimidator" (Dale Earnhardt), "Little E" (Dale Earnhardt Jr.), "Million Dollar Bill" Elliot, "Sliced Bread" (Joey Logano), "Fireball" (Glenn Roberts), "Smoke" (Tony Stewart), or "The King" (Richard Petty).
  • 'The King' is a common moniker for the widely-accepted greatest player of all time in an English football team's history. Two of the most famous include King Kenny Dalglish of Liverpool and Denis Law of Manchester United.
  • Liverpool Football Club has a habit of giving awesome nicknames to their players. Robbie Fowler is known as 'God', Steven Gerrard has 'Captain Marvel', and Fernando Torres is 'The Kid'.
  • In Cricket:
    • Viv Richards was "The Master Blaster".
    • Michael Holding was "Whispering Death".
    • The greatest batsman of all time Sir Donald George Bradman was simply "The Don"
  • Sosai Masutatsu Oyama, founder of Kyokushinkai Karate, "The God Hand". The man who could One-Hit Kill a bull, and achieved it at most three times.
  • Ian Thorpe a.k.a. "Thorpedo".
  • Brazilian soccer player Givanildo Vieira de Souza got the nickname "Hulk" during his playing times in Japan. He embraced said nickname and wears it on the back of his shirt.
  • Professional StarCraft players often get nicknames beyond the screennames they use when competing. Perhaps the best known is SlayerS_Boxer, known as "The Terran Emperor" (real name Lim Yo Hwan). Others include NaDa "The Genius" or Iloveoov "Cheater Terran".[11]
  • In Boxing:
    • Muhammad Ali: The Greatest
    • Joe Frazier: Smokin'
    • Mike Tyson: Iron Mike
    • Floyd Mayweather jr. Pretty Boy, Money
    • Erik Morales: El Terrible
    • Manny Pacquiao: Pacman, The Mexicutioner, The Destroyer
    • Harry Greb: The Smoke City Wildcat, the Human Windmill, King of the Alley Fighters, the Human Tornado, the Human perpetual Motion Machine, the Pittsburgh Windmill, and the Wildest Tiger. Why so many nicknames? He was that good.
    • Jack Dempsey: The Manassa Mauler, the Man Killer
    • Carlos Monzon: Escopeta (Spanish for shotgun)
    • Stanley Ketchel: The Michigan Assassin
    • Henry Armstrong: Homicide Hank, Hurricane Hank, Hammerin' Hank

Notes

  1. Minato Namikaze
  2. Sakumo Hatake
  3. Zabuza Momochi
  4. Hiruzen Sarutobi or The Sage of Six Paths
  5. Jiraiya
  6. Tsunade
  7. Orochimaru
  8. Hidan and Kakuzu
  9. Kakashi Hatake
  10. Terrifying Guardian
  11. a reference to his skill at building massive armies very quickly, not actual cheating