Trope Workshop:Spell My Name with a "The"

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"Hmm, I'm not sure about 'Hulk' for a kid. Although I do like the sound of a name beginning with 'The'"


A name for a place, person of thing is prefaced with the definite article (i.e. "the") has the word emphasized, often as a symbol of its importance.

This is the occasional result of some people being addressed primarily by their titles, and in rare cases only by their title (especially if that title turns out to be their actual name). Others want you to put a "The" before their name - in many cases, you want to avoid these people.

This form of naming scheme is sure to cause some grammatical confusion, especially where plural forms and numeric adjectives are involved - sometimes on purpose.

May overlap with Third-Person Person. See also Insistent Terminology. For a particularly ominous version, see The Master. Compare The Magnificent, where the "the" goes in the middle — and which is not always bad. See also The Trope Without a Title and The "The" Title Confusion, where it is unclear whether or not something should begin with a "the".

The examples of this trope include:

The Advertising

  • Inversion: A late-1990s ESPN commercial series stars Mike O'Malley as "Rick", bemoaning that "everyone calls me The Rick."
  • Another inversion: The U.S. Forest Service's mascot who annually tells Americans "Remember, only you can prevent forest fires" does not have a "the" in his name. His name is Smokey Bear.

The Anime and The Manga

The Comic Books

  • The Goddamn Batman and The Joker, The Riddler, and The Penguin, though occasionally the articles get dropped when they are being spoken to directly. It's even Lampshaded in one issue of Superman/Batman Generations, when he is talking to Alfred's ghost. "The" Batman. You must be the only one who uses the definite article anymore.

Selina: Well. The Batman...
Batman: [Visible Silence]
Selina: Or is it just "Batman"?
Batman: [Visible Silence]
Selina: Your choice, of course!

  • Spider-Man villain The Shocker. Not to mention The Sandman, The Kingpin, The Green Goblin, The Hobgoblin, The Jackal, The Lizard, The Rhino, The Tinkerer, The Vulture, The Rose, The... Of course, Spidey would never settle for being outdone by his enemies. The Webslinger, The Wallcrawler, Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man... heck, one version of him even monologues to himself that he is The Spectacular Spider-Man!
    • What? He's not The Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man?
  • The Corinthian from The Sandman.[context?]
  • The Dog from Footrot Flats, who refuses to respond to his real name (whatever it is).
  • In the UK's weekly anthology comic The Beano, any character referred to with a "the" in their title actually has it in their name. Dennis the Menace has parents referred to as Mr & Mrs. The Menace, Ivy The Terrible's have been called Mr & Mrs The Terrible (although admittedly Mr/Mrs Terrible is more usual), along with Mr/Mrs The Minx, Mr/Mrs The Dodger. However they have also all been given other names on occasion, so these names might not be considered canon.
  • The Drummer. First name the, second name Drummer.
  • The original alias of Oroku Saki in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was actually "The Shredder". As time went by and subsequent media adaptations left their mark on the franchise, he is now more commonly referred as simply "Shredder".
  • The Flash counts too.[context?]
  • J'onn J'onzz is almost always referred to as THE Martian Manhunter, not just "Martian Manhunter". Or just the Manhunter. Or the Manhunter from Mars. Point is, he's always a "the".
  • The Mandarin from Iron Man.[context?]
    • Also The Iron Man, but only he calls himself that.
  • THE Punisher has fought THE Russian, THE Mongolian, and THE Mennonite.
  • Nobody can stop The Juggernaut from being mentioned here!
  • Of Transformers' Original Thirteen Primes, two things stand out about The Fallen (real name Megatronus Prime). The other is that he's perpetually on fire.

The Fan Works


John said over his burden, "We're lookin' for a hunter, actually."
The blond man smoothed his mustache and gazed thoughtfully at the ceiling. "A hunter? I'm sure I can find someone here to accommodate you… hm…."
"Didn't he say the hunter?" George said to John.
The blond man's eyes snapped down. "The hunter? You mean—the Hunter?"
"Yeah, I’m sure we mean the Hunter," John said. He sighed and shifted Paul to a slightly more comfortable position. "Of course it's gotta be the Hunter. We always get the the's."


Charlie's gaze tracked over to Harry and he nodded with a lopsided grin. "And this," he said, turning back to Doug, "is the famous Harry."
"Not the Harry?" Doug asked with a slightly conspiratorial wink.
What an odd reaction, Hermione thought absently, but it apparently to be the right one as far as Harry was concerned. She had felt him stiffen at Charlie's introduction, but when Doug seemed to make a joke of it he relaxed to a degree she'd never seen before around someone new.
"No, just a Harry," Harry replied with a delighted smile that, to Hermione's bafflement, was completely at odds with his recent sulky mood.
"Oh, well, then, that's better. I'm glad we got that straightened out," Doug said.

  • In the Worm/Luna Varga crossover Taylor Varga by "mp3.1415player", Amy "Panacea" Dallon gets saddled with the joking Sobriquet "The Amy" when discussing the possibility of shifting from The Medic to a more active crime-fighter. It becomes a Running Gag among her friends (and her sister) and she eventually embraces the joke.

The Film


Domina: The Gloriosus?
Pseudolus: The the himself!

  • From Where The Heart Is:

Jimmy: We're broke, we're desperate, we're hopeless... The fag doesn't pay, the Shit doesn't pay...
Chloe: Don't call him "the fag!"
Daphne: Don't call him "the Shit!"
Shitty: At least I'm "the Shit". You're just a shit.


Phil: I'm a god. I'm not the God... I don't think.


Tai Lung: "You can't defeat me! You're just a big... fat... panda!"
Po: "I'm not a big, fat panda... I'm THE big, fat panda!"


The Chief: The Chief likes to refer to himself in the third person. It causes confusion, especially with the bitches.


The Literature

  • The Mule from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.[context?]
  • The Cadpig from "The Hundred and One Dalmations", who is a Little Miss Snarker. She's mostly reffered to as just "Cadpig" in the sequel, "The Starlight Barking".
  • Anne McCaffrey's Talents series has The Rowan, so named because she was found in the ruins of The Rowan Mining Company with no known name - she was referred to as "the Rowan child", and eventually she came to think it was her name.
  • Subverted in The Adventures of Blue Avenger, in which the protagonist wants to change his name to "The Blue Avenger," until it's pointed out that "The" would end up being his first name, after which he drops it and becomes just "Blue Avenger".
  • According to Trivial Pursuit, Winnie the Pooh's middle name is "The".
  • Although it's not a name, special mention must go to Discworld and its ...the Woodpecker.
  • In Peter S. Beagle's "Tamsin" there is The Billy Blind. Not a Billy Blind, but The Billy Blind.
  • According to Watson in "A Scandal in Bohemia," Irene Adler is always "The Woman" - never "a woman" - to Sherlock Holmes. This becomes an important point of contention in the fandom, since in "The Five Orange Pips" Holmes makes reference to being fooled by "a woman," and fans have debated whether or not he is referring to Adler.
  • Subverted by the band "Tiffanys" in the German novel Fleisch ist mein Gem üse. Everyone but themselves keeps calling them "Die Tiffanys" ("The Tiffanys").
  • Richard Adams's The Plague Dogs has The Tod.
  • The Lord of the Rings: While plotting to betray Frodo and get his hand on the Ring, Gollum briefly fantasises about being known as The Gollum. Sauron is also called The Lord of the Rings.
  • El Zorro. We don't call him "El," though.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Constantius also goes by "the Falcon." He doesn't insist on the "the" though.
  • The Macquern in Zuleika Dobson is always referred to as, well, The Macquern—except by Zuleika, who insists on calling him Mr. Macquern instead.
    • If he was the head of a Scottish clan, then "The Macquern" would be his official title, so it's possible that Zuleika was deliberately yanking his chain by calling him plain "Mr." - any man in his clan would be "Mr. Macquern", but only one could claim to be The Macquern.
  • Old Kingdom: The Abhorsen.[context?]
  • In Sharpe, partisan leaders (following the Real Life examples below) give themselves titles such as "El Matarife" (The Slaughterman). Lampshaded in one instance, where Sharpe's teenage sidekick wants to be a partisan leader when he grows up, and has already chosen his title.
  • The Leewit from The Witches of Karres by James H. Schmitz. You do not want her to whistle at you, which she might if you call her just "Leewit". Then again, she might whistle at you anyway. As it turns out, the Leewit was named according to a tradition restricting the name to one living person, and that the name is a descriptive word. It then turns out that the Leewit is the originator of this tradition, and that the word "Leewit" means "like the Leewit".
  • From Star Trek: Vanguard, each of the elite Serrataal among the Shedai; e.g. The Maker, The Wanderer, The Myrmidon, The Apostate.
  • The Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords saga includes the Exalted, a chaos space marine/tzeentchian daemon gestalt. For bonus alienation factor, it is only ever referred to as an "it". Calling it by the host's birth name of Vandred is a major Berserk Button.
  • In A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Hank Morgan comes to be known as The Boss; he's pleased with this, because "there were very few THEs -- the king, the queen, the Pope -- and I was one of them."
  • The Jackal from The Day of the Jackal. This is partly the consequence of his name being a secret even from the reader. Before he got his code name he was called the Englishman.
  • In Patrick Rothfuss' The Name of the Wind, the main character Kvothe encounters a man who calls himself The Chronicler to which Kvothe replies, "I asked for your name, not your profession." When Chronicler does give his full name and identity, Kvothe then replies, "Oh. So you are the Chronicler."
  • Many nicknames in A Song of Ice and Fire that can stand alone begin with "the," such as the Imp, the Mountain That Rides and the Sword of the Morning.
  • The cover of Rik Mayall's semi-fictionalised autobiography Bigger Than Hitler, Better Than Christ names him as The Rik Mayall.
  • In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children refer to the Creepy Housekeeper, Mrs. Macready, as The Macready, although she doesn't call herself that, of course.
  • All of the Insequent from The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant have titles like this: the Harrow, the Ardent, the Mahdoubt, etc. These are not their true names, however.

The Live-Action TV

  • The Todd from Scrubs, he gave himself the nickname of "The Todd" which almost everyone calls him by.
    • He also has another self-appointed nickname, "The Big Dog", though he only calls himself by that.[context?]
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine", Jerkass medicated Monk demands to be called "The Monk".
  • The Bruce Dickinson from the "More Cowbell" sketch. Possibly to say "The Iron Maiden guy has nothing on me!"
  • Inverted with Stephen Colbert's Running Gag about the newspaper USA Today. It started with the character mistakenly referring to it as The USA Today. Now he makes a game out of getting as many "the"s and "today"s into the sentence as possible.
    • Colbert has since spread the gag to other jokes, especially to (at the time) new and trending technologies, such as "The Twitter" or "The Facebook".
  • Dead Ringers' version of the Fourth Doctor gave his first name as "The".
  • The Stig, a mysterious racing driver in Top Gear whose face is never shown, although they sometimes just refer to him as "Stig" and he doesn't seem to mind.
    • Some say that his first name really is "The". (Which would make sense, as they call each other "Clarkson" and "Hammond" all the time.)
  • Bunk "The Bunk" Moreland from The Wire.
  • In the Corner Gas episode "Tax Man," a tax man repeatedly demands to be not referred to with a "the".

"I'm a tax man, not the tax man. Saying 'the tax man is just a little dehumanizing!"

  • On The Muppet Show, Lew Zeeland typically addressed Kermit as "Mr. The Frog".
    • Elsewhere, on both The Muppet Show and The Sesame Street, Kermit signs all his formal communications as "Kermit T. Frog; As with Winnie The Pooh, "The" is actually their middle name.
  • In Doctor Who, the Rani, the Meddling Monk, the Valeyard... all renegade Time Lords give themselves names in this fashion. It's just what they do.
    • Don't forget the Doctor.
    • And the Master.
    • Also the Corsair, who has never appeared onscreen but was mentioned in passing in the episode "The Doctor's Wife".
    • Not a character, but the Great Moff.
    • A hilarious example from an episode of Doctor Who Confidential: When Matt, Karen, and Arthur are goofing off during filming, they decide to host their own talk show. Karen (K-Gill) Gillan introduces her two guests, "Mr. Matt Smith" and "THE Arthur Darvill". Matt takes objection to this, prompting Arthur to declare "There are a lot of Matt Smiths. There's only one Arthur Darvill, mate."
    • Referenced by the Doctor when talking about The Library. "So big it doesn't need a name; just a great big the."
  • In the Eerie, Indiana episode "Zombies in P.J.s", convenience store owner Mr. Radford makes a Deal with the Devil with a man calling himself "The Donald". Well, this guy might not be the actual devil because he apparently had a boss, but said boss probably was.
  • "Love The Drake!"[context?]
  • From Charmed, The Source, The Triad, The Elders, The Seer.[context?]
  • Mike "The Situation" in Jersey Shore.[context?]
  • The Cat[context?]
  • Comedy news correspondent (Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show) A. Whitney Brown would say he hopes to one day be "THE Whitney Brown."
  • The Prophets on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine exclusively refer to Sisko as "The Sisko". Which becomes kind of hilarious when you start thinking about his several no-nonsense kick-asserythroughout the series.
    • Also, in the TNG episode "Who Watches the Watchers?", Picard is referred to as "The Picard".

"I believe I have seen the Overseer. He is called 'The Picard.'"

  • During the writer's strike, Jon Stewart's show was just A Daily Show. When the writers returned, they once again became The Daily Show.

Jon Stewart: Oh, definite article, how I've missed you!

  • Some shows have this with episode names, such as Seinfeld, and (technically) Friends.
  • Invoked by TV Guide with a short-lived 1970s game show called The Better Sex. TV Guide normally omits "The" from titles beginning with that word, but they realized that people might balk at seeing "Better Sex" in the listings.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 combines this with Mysterious Middle Initial; yes, Crow T. Robot's middle initial stands for "The".
  • The Weakest Link. Averted in the UK at least, where it became just Weakest Link after about a year on air. For some reason, although they removed the definite article from the show's logo, the chain link it was previously attached to remained, even though it was now redundant.
  • High-ranking Fae figures in Lost Girl have titles - not names - like this, such as The Ash and The Morrigan.
  • Happy Days: Arthur Fonzerelli is called "The Fonz" by everyone except Mrs. Cunningham.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: A demon mistakenly referred to as "The Gnarl" is actually just named Gnarl.

The Music

  • U2's The Edge - but everyone calls him The Edge anyway.
  • Eels has a band member nicknamed "The Chet", who has been with the band since 2005.
  • About half the music bands in existence have names beginning with "The", to the point that one band calls itself The The.
  • In an episode of KYTV, a quiz host disqualifies a contestant in a "Name the Tune" contestant for identifying a song as Beatles' "Yellow Submarine", insisting that it is The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine".
  • Inverted with art punk band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
    • Similarly, the band Pixies are named just that, not The Pixies.
    • Also, rhythm group All Mighty Senators. Woe be on you if you call them The All Mighty Senators.
    • It's not The Simple Minds either, nor is it The Faces or The Wings.
    • Nor is it The Talking Heads. They even titled a live album after it: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads.
    • Nor is it "the" Eagles.
    • Nor is it "the" Dixie Chicks.
    • Nor is it "the" Editors.
    • Nor is it "the" Deftones.
    • Nor is it "the" Eurythmics.
    • Nor is it "the" Stars.
    • Nor is it "the" Scorpions.
    • Nor is it now "the" Game, as the rapper has dropped the "the" as of 2010.
    • Nor is it "the" Gorillaz.
      • Although sometimes "the Gorillaz" is used as a catch-all term for both the (fictional) band and all its (real) contributors...which is still wrong.
    • Nor is it "the" Arctic Monkeys.
    • Nor is it "the" Foo Fighters.
    • Nor is it "the" Sick Puppies.
    • Nor is it "the" Carpenters.
    • Nor is it "the" Tribe.
  • Relatedly, "A" Tribe Called Quest
  • Apparently, The Mascara Snake, who played clarinet for Captain Beefheart.
  • Before Pink Floyd switched from blues to prog rock, they were The Pink Floyd.
    • In interviews, members of the band sometimes refer to it just as "The Floyd". So do some fans.
  • Before Status Quo (band) switched from psychedelic rock to three power chords per song, they were The Status Quo. They are also sometimes referred to as "The Quo".
  • According to Liam Howlett, it has always been The Prodigy, and the word the was only removed to fit within the displayed logo.
  • Ardent fans of The Tragically Hip will correct you, if you either drop "The" from the band's name or don't capitalize it.
  • Insane Ian’s wife and sometimes-collaborator is known as "The Stacey".
  • The Great Luke Ski.

The Professional Wrestling

  • WWE's "The Brian Kendrick". And he doesn't let you forget it.
  • The Rock's name was born from this, as his previous ring name was Rocky Maivia.
  • Former WWE / current TNA commentator Tazz was often jokingly referred to as "The Tazz", after a gaffe by Mike Adamle.

Tazz: I have nightmares when I hear "The Tazz."

  • The Austin Starr.[context?]
  • A great many luchadores' names begin with "El," which is Spanish for "The." This sometimes leads to instances of luchadores in fiction being referred to by others as just "El."
  • The Miz.[context?]
  • Bret Hart had an interesting Verbal Tic - he'd put "The" in front of names that didn't require one. "The Summerslam", "The Wrestlemania"...

The Radio Drama


Receptionist: You're Zaphod Beeblebrox? The Zaphod Beeblebrox?
Zaphod Beeblebrox: No, A Zaphod Beeblebrox. Haven't you heard, I come in six-packs.

  • And then later, on Brontytoll, upon discovering a gigantic statue of Arthur Dent:

Bird: You're Arthur Dent? The Arthur Dent?
Arthur Dent: I don't know if I'm The Arthur Dent, but That Arthur Dent is me.


The Tabletop Games

  • Exalted: Abyssal Exalts, traditionally 'sacrificing' their names and replacing them with titles, sometimes begin their new titles with The. Being Exalts embodying death, destruction and decay, they also tend to be names you run away from. Given that titles have a tendency to be flowery, poetic, and overwrought, they make you wonder if they might be names someone ran away with... or at least got carried away with. None the less, 'the' seems used as a division between Name and Title in most of the game's parlance.

The Web Animation

  • The Cheat in Homestar Runner, even when it makes no grammatical sense. "Out popped a lifetime supply of fish sticks, and a The Cheat!"
    • It gets even sillier when his name is put into plural and the article remains, like in the title of "500 The Cheats."
    • Ditto with "The Paper" and Homestar's 1936 counterpart, "The Homestar Runner". And The King of Town, and The Poopsmith, and The Ugly One, and The Sneak, and The Stick and... [1]
  • Let's not forget The Mole from Happy Tree Friends.[context?]

The Video Games

  • One of the aliens in Half Life call Gordon Freeman "The Free Man". Other prominent characters are called "the Magnusson", "the Alyx Vance" and "the Eli Vance" but the main character's the only one whose nickname can stand on its own like that.
    • Although Freeman is also apparently known among various resistance groups as "The One Free Man", according to one of the Breencasts. Perhaps the nickname came from humans who thought the Vortigaunt way of referring to Freeman would sound cool, with the appropriate change in pronunciation.
    • Of course, the Rebels who call him that are entirely oblivious to the irony of the name, given Gordon's situation with the G-Man. It is entirely correct with the Combine, however, and the most 'free' person in the world must still choose his master - even if it is himself.
      • Actually part of the reason the Vortigaunts call him "The Free Man" is because they actually revere Gordon Freeman as The Messiah, as he freed them from generations of slavery in the first Half Life. Thus, to the Vortigaunts, he is "The Free Man".
  • I Wanna Be the Guy: The Guy is not only a name, but a title that player character The Kid aspires to.
  • The members of the Cobra unit in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: The Pain, The Fear, The Fury, The End, and The Sorrow. In the case of The Boss, however, other characters tend to just call her "Boss" (forgoing the "The") when speaking to her; probably as a sign of respect. However, her original codename was "The Joy".
  • In-keeping with The Hulk and characters of that ilk, any Player Character in City of Heroes can have the game plunk a "The" before the character's name whenever it appears onscreen. Any such optional "The" is omitted for occurrences of Hello, Insert Name Here, however.
    • City of Heroes also has the giant monster/supervillain "The Hamidon", formerly the Mad Scientist/eco-terrorist Hamidon Pasilima before he went (permanently) One-Winged Angel.
  • Super Robot Wars Z gave us The Edel, who actually needed the "the" to distinguish himself from the other Edel.
  • The Blind Idiot Translation for the Navi Mode dialogue in Mega Man Anniversary Collection sometimes puts a "the" in front of character names, resulting in things like "the Beat" or "the Plant Man".
  • Sly Cooper has "The Murray".
  • The Postal Dude. It's apparently his actual name.
  • Saints Row has Los Carnales, "los" being masculine plural for "the". A running gag in the game is characters being reminded (and not caring) that "los means the" and thus "The Carnales" and "Los Carnales" are both correct while "The Los Carnales" is not.
  • In Total Annihilation, one unit is named "The Can". Should a player decide to build fifty of them, he or she could reasonably be described as having an army of The Cans.
  • But in Might and Magic VII, the android encountered in the final cutscene is at pains to point out that:

I am a Corak, not the Corak.

  • The instruction manual for the Game and Watch Super Mario Bros. refers to the Big Bad as "the Bowser".
  • Mass Effect has The Illusive Man.
  • Halo has The Arbiter, the second player character. In almost an inversion of The Cheat, some characters leave out the article entirely and treat Arbiter like a name.
  • Every Fallout game uses this for the player character. Specifically, The Vault Dweller, The Chosen One, The Lone Wanderer, and The Courier.
  • According to early version images found in the instruction booklet, Pokémon Red and Blue almost did this. Instead of "LASS wants to fight!", it would have instead said "The LASS wants to fight!". Considering how character names were handled at this point ("The BROCK wants to fight!", which actually shows up in the instruction booklet's page on Brock), it's easy to see why it was changed before the final release.
  • Pretty much everyone in Team Fortress 2 - the Pyro, the Medic, the Announcer...
  • The Legacy DLC for Dragon Age II has the Carta searching for "The Hawke". This title actually is justified, in that the Carta aren't specifically referring to Hawke, but also their sibling, both of whom are they have been attempting to kidnap. Likewise, the title of "The Hawke" is occasionally used to refer to their father, Malcolm.
    • The protagonist is frequently referred to as "The Champion" during the third act.
    • Awakening, the expansion for the original Dragon Age, has lots of folks who spell their names with a The: "The Architect", "The Mother", "The Withered", "The Lost", "The First"...
    • The protagonist is referred to as either "The Warden", "The Hero of Ferelden" or "The Commander of the Grey".
  • The Imprisoned in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword.
  • Count the number of times Boyd refers to The Milkman in Psychonauts. Now count how many times he says "Milkman" alone.[2] Raz tends to use the 'The', too.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles has the Bionis and the Mechonis, the two gods on whose corpses the game takes place.
  • One ending of Mass Effect 3 has the protagonist having become known as "The Shepard", thousands of years into the future.
  • NetHack uses this for some of its artifacts (e.g. The Eye of the Aethiopica, The Heart of Ahriman and The Magic Mirror of Merlin) and quest nemesis monsters (e.g. The Cyclops, The Dark One).
  • The Iron Bull in Dragon Age: Inquisition. He is not an Iron Bull, he is The Iron Bull, and he will not let you forget it.

The Web Comics

The Web Original

  • Larry Damone's codename at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe is 'The Man Called Vengeance'. You have to say the whole thing. Really.
  • in Protectors of the Plot Continuum, most of the Flowers are known by "The" plus species name, including some of the Firstborn, who are the only Flowers with proper "names". There is also the Mysterious Somebody, though he did secretly have a proper name, being a clone of Joruus C'baoth.
  • As the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a superhero setting, there were a ton of these: The Wonder, The Sculptor, The Warlock, The Bishop, and most especially the Blood Red King. El Buho (The Owl) is a Mexican example.
  • Steve and Larson of Ten FTW use 'The Twitters' and 'The Facebooks' and add it to years (e.g. 'The 08').
  • Speaking of which, Facebook started out as The Facebook, before dropping the "The".

The Western Animation


Hacker: That's The Hacker to you!

  • Subverted with The Peculiar Purple Pieman of Porcupine Peak in Strawberry Shortcake. While he is a villain who speaks of himself using his full name (and following up with his song and dance), he couldn't care less that everyone else calls him by shorter versions of his name.
  • Played with in The Venture Brothers. The Monarch tells Hank that he is listed in the Guild of Calamitous Intent's books under M, for Monarch. Or possibly T, for The Monarch. This also applies to his wife, nee Dr. Girlfriend, later known as Dr. Mrs. The Monarch.
  • Cars has a character named The King, who Lightning McQueen refers to directly as 'Mister The King'.
    • Which leads to Mater addressing his wife as "Mrs. The King".
  • In Kim Possible, when Ron is temporarily rich for an episode, he insists on being referred to as "The Ron".
  • Undergrads had 'The Douggler'.[context?]
  • Every episode in the second half of the second season of Aqua Teen Hunger Force begins with the word "The" and is lampshaded with an episode titled "The The".
  • The Tramp, from Lady and the Tramp.
    • Though he frequently gets called Tramp, mostly by the people closest to him (like Lady).
  • The Batman, from his own show. Oddly, the The is dropped for most of the characters that have it in the comics, (i.e. it's now just Joker and Penguin) and even Batman himself isn't always referred to this way.
  • Star Wars: Clone Wars and Star Wars The CloneWars.
  • On Total Drama World Tour, Ezekiel starts to call himself "The Zeke" as part of his Determinator / Jive Turkey routine. He doesn't seem to care whether or not other people use it, though.
  • In Futurama, when Dr. Zoidberg got his mind swapped with Fry and is confronted with the Robo-Hungarian emperor in a wash bucket's body claiming to be Bender, he exclaims, "Bender, old pal! It's me, the Fry!"
  • Nicktoon Aaahh Real Monsters features their Sadist Teacher, The Gromble. Also their school disciplinarian is normally referred to as The Snorch.
  • Starfire from Teen Titans inverts this, as she tends to address villains as "The (Villain Name)", even if their names don't have 'the' to start with.
  • Regular Show has The Urge, a fame-hungry rocker that inspires Rigby to change his own name - but the name he picks ends up being so bad that it motivates a future version of The Urge to travel back in time and kill Rigby for eclipsing his fame through the sheer magnitude of suck.
  • From the Sonic Boom episode "Circus of Plunders":

Sonic: Capable is my middle name.
Knuckles: I thought your middle name was "The".


The Real Life

  • The Arabic names for God (in Islam and the Baha'i Faith) all begin with Al- which means "the".
  • "The Lord", a common Christian name for God.
  • The Hebrew version is haShem, which means "The Name".
  • In Celtic Mythology, The Morrigan and The Dagda.
  • What about His Holiness, The Dalai Lama?
  • As well as il papa himself, The Pope.
  • Can also extend to inanimate objects and/or ideas. Ask the more pretentious alumni of The Ohio State University.
    • The University of York (in the UK) is very particular about its name, because York University is in Canada.
    • Two for one: "The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina" is the official name of that school in Charleston.
    • Of course, then there's The U (the University of Miami (FL)).
    • The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
  • Donald Trump, a.k.a. "The Donald", a.k.a. "The former president"
  • David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff.
  • Some American Indian names are given in this way, such as the early 19th century Cherokee war leader The Ridge.
  • According to Martin Brodeur's autobiography, legendary ice hockey bust Alexandre Daigle likes to be called "The Daigle".
  • Like the T-shirt says, "I'm not a bitch, I'm the bitch!"
  • There are several countries like this, including The Gambia, the Sudan, the Philippines, the United States, the UK, and just about any country that starts with "The Republic" or similar. Also, many geographic regions are like this too, especially places that used to be the (former). In some cases, the name doesn't make much sense without the definite article (e.g. the Philippines, the US, the UK, the Czech Republic), while some seem to just have it there (I'm looking at you, Sudan and Gambia...)
    • Some countries take a definite article in Arabic. These are not always the same ones that take a definite article in English. Iraq, for example, is literally "The Iraq." This is also the reason (the) Sudan takes the definite article: it's Al-Suudaan (The Sudan) in Arabic.
      • And it's not just Arab countries that get this weirdness; Austria is Al-Nimsaa ("Al" being "the", and "Nimsaa" from Niemcy, a common Slavic name for German-speakers), and Argentina, which is Al-Arjentiin.
    • And subverting this: despite long being The Ukraine, the country is merely "Ukraine", due to 19th century translations ("Ukrayina" derives from a term for "Borderland"). While the Ukrainian language had no articles, the Ukrainian translators just assumed you were supposed to put one in English. Since the country's Declaration of Independence in 1991, the use of "The" started to drop out of formal usage and by 2020 appears to have disappeared entirely even in common usage.
    • Old colonial names for different countries often had this, as they were often seen as regions that were expanded into rather than sovereign states: "The Canadas", "The Belgian (or French) Congo", etc. Sometimes, different English-speaking countries will use these names (i.e. Argentina vs. The Argentine). As well, names like "The Americas", "The Koreas", and so forth exist when there's more than one of a country or continent, and they're both/all being referenced at once.
  • The painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos was known as El Greco: an archaic Spanish word for "the Greek" (he worked in Spain).
  • Bill Murray tells a story about calling to accept an invitation for a pro-am golf tournament, and being asked "Are you THE Bill Murray?" and replying "Well, I'm A Bill Murray." When he shows up without his packet and badge and the guard won't let him in, he talks the guard into calling the director to tell her that Bill Murray's at the gate, and she shoots back "Is it A Bill Murray?"
  • Using this trope for first names is not uncommon, cross-linguistically.
    • It's canon in Modern Greek, among many other languages. Ancient Greek also could use an article with a name, especially if the named was famous ('the Socrates').
    • Italian is somewhat weird about first names, the article before is considered canon only for female first names. While the construction is identical (and it is often used informally) it's considered a grammatical error to use it before male names.
    • In the informal Spanish of various countries, people are often referred to with the definite article -- "El Manuel fue a la tienda" ("The Manuel went to the store") is a perfectly valid sentence, albeit technically incorrect grammatically.
    • It's the same in Portuguese: "O Manuel foi à loja". Also while people use to call their parents mom and dad in english it's usual to call them "O pai" ou "A mãe" (the father, the mother). Like in "O pai perguntou que horas você chega em casa" (The father asked what time you'll get home".
    • Spoken non-formal German (varying a bit by region) often uses the definitive article together with names (first, family, and full): "die Marie", "der/die [Herr/Frau] Schmidt", "die Marie Schmidt". It's also common as 'standard usage' in various German dialects (sometimes with added inversion of family and first name). Additionally the article can be used with famous people.
    • This is also common in some dialects in northern Sweden. There are even specific definite articles for this that aren't used in any other case - n for men and a for women. Used as "n'Anders gick till affären" ("The Anders went to the store") or "Jag mötte a'Anna på vägen hit" ("I met the Anna on the way here").
      • Isn't that an abbreviation of "he" and "she", though? The same phenomenon exists in Norwegian, where the n for men is an abbreviation of "han". Don't know what the "a" for women is strictly derived from, but the correct translation of a sentence like "a gikk til butikken" would be "she went to the shop".
    • "Le / La + first name" also works in French, though it's not considered "standard".
    • In Hungarian, using "a", the equivalent of "the", before names ("a Tibor, a Klára") was originally considered rude, but lately it seems to be becoming prevalent in all but the most formal of situations.
    • In fact, the cross-linguistic frequency of occurrence, combined with the fact that nouns have to have determiners in most formal models of syntax, and the fact that we can use an explicit determiner in rare cases in English (e.g. "The James who I met at the party yesterday must have been the same James you met last weekend."; also, the humor in the Bill Murray quote depends on knowledge of the pragmatics of usage of the explicit determiner), has led linguists to posit a special "before-proper-nouns null determiner". In other words, everyone is using an equivalent of the word "the" before proper nouns; it's just that the pronunciation of it is nothing at all.
  • Many surnames include an article, such as Lafayette and de Raadt.
  • El Cid (a Spanish term with an Arabic etymology) is almost always called El Cid or the Cid.
  • The WB Television Network, and its successor The CW. Most affiliates leave "The" out of their local branding.
  • The Donway is a road in Toronto, Ontario whose numerical addresses all have the "The" at the front of "Donway". The address of Don Mills Collegiate Institute, for example, is 15 The Donway East.
    • Similarly The Queensway. The address of St. Joseph's is 30 The Queensway.
  • Diseases on the east coast of Canada often get this nomenclature, as in: "Oh, she's down with a right case of the pneumonia, she is."
  • When things that are famous throughout the world are named in untranslated Spanish the Spanish equivalent to "the", "el" for male nouns and "la" for female nouns, is made part of the name for mistake, in that way what shall be "the niño current" is known as "the el niño current" despite being known in Spanish as "La corriente del niño."
  • Actor/Comedian The Greg Wilson, known for bit parts in Ugly Betty, Modern Family, Bones, and The Hottie and The Nottie.
  • Partisan leaders in the Peninsular War were frequently known by titles beginning "El", such as "El Empecinado" (The Undaunted) and "El Medico" (The Doctor... probably not that one).
  • A number of brands of Scotch (e.g. The Glenlivet, The Macallan) do this.
  • The Dalles, OR[context?]
  • La Center, WA, a rare example of an English word city name with a Spanish definite article.
  • Any Spanish word city name that starts with any of the four definite articles:
    • El: masculine singular (Ex: El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area and El Centro in southeastern California)
    • Los: masculine plural (Ex: Los Angeles in SoCal and Los Banos in the San Joaquin Valley)
    • La: feminine singular (Ex: La Jolla, CA)
    • Las: feminine plural (Ex: Las Vegas, NV and Las Vegas, NM)
  • Holders of UK peerage titles are strictly The Lord Loveaduck or The Lady Day, to distinguish them from non-peers who might have those titles; e.g. the younger sons of a Marquis (Lord Sebastian Flyte) or the wife of a Knight (Lady Elspeth Flashman.)
  • The Manolo is the big fan of the definite article. (Also the shoes.)
  • Clothing retailer Gap used to be "The Gap". Though it officially dropped "The" in 1986, its ad slogan "Fall into the Gap" continued to use the article.
  • The chief of a Scots clan will usually refer to himself or herself in this way: the chief of Clan MacFarlane, for instance, is "the MacFarlane". (If a chieftainship descends to someone who doesn't have that clan name as their surname - say, to the child of a woman who married outside the clan - the new chief is expected to change his or her surname to match.)
  • Similarly, the eldest male in an Irish family will sometimes be called "The X". So the patriarch of a family called Egan might be called "The Egan."
  • Presumably to show it's specialness in relation to the other planets, Earth is often called The Earth, whereas you rarely if ever hear a native English speaker use the phrase "The Mars". Similarly, The Sun and The Moon - to distinguish them from every other star and moon out there.
  • George W. Bush inspired mockery when he claimed to use "the Google."
  • Before Toronto's multipurpose indoor stadium was renamed Rogers Centre, its management inverted this trope by insisting that you not call the building "The Skydome". You were to refer to it as "Skydome". One hopes Bret Hart (above) never mentioned Skydome back in the day.
  • A similar inversion applies to the London art gallery known to almost everyone as "The Tate Gallery". In 2000 it was renamed "Tate Britain", to distinguish it from the new "Tate Modern", and they had a campaign to encourage taxi drivers to correct anyone who asked to go to "the Tate".
  • One of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx.

  1. Yes, the HR Wiki made a page for it too.
  2. Interestingly, the G-men will say "a Milkman" or something similar every now and then, even though they're part of Boyd's mind.