The Nicknamer

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"Soup Nazi? You people have a little pet name for everybody."

Time for a new article! Is the gang all here? Blondy and Fred? Mutt? Good.

Now a lot of you have been wondering why I call myself The Nicknamer. Well, it's simple: I never use anyone's real name. I just make up a short catchy moniker for them. Why do I do this? Perhaps I can't be bothered learning your names (Nothing personal, I had a hard childhood). Some say that it's because I'm childish. But really, you all know it makes me Totally Radical, don't you?

Compare Only Known by Their Nickname. See Embarrassing Nickname for when it sticks (often becoming a Berserk Button); Appropriated Appellation, when the name is embarrassing but is adopted and worn with pride; and Insult of Endearment, when the character's petname for someone isn't flattering but is meant well..

Examples of The Nicknamer include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • K-On!'s Yui Hirasawa. Her guitar becomes "Gitah", Tsumugi becomes "Mugi-chan", Ritsu becomes "Ricchan", and Azusa becomes "Azu-nyan". Later, Mio's bass becomes "Elizabeth". Also, in the "extra" episode, she calls her pair of gloves "Tebukuro-chan".
    • When her sister (Ui) impersonated her, her friends first became suspicious because Ui got all the nicknames wrong. Sawako saw through it immediately, though, because she instantly noticed the change in bust size... which is partially excused by the fact that she is the band's costume designer/creator... but still.
  • Yachiru Kusajishi from Bleach, the most infamous of her nicknames being "Ken-chan" (Kenny in the dub) to her giant, bloodthirsty behemoth of a captain. Although it's not assured what she will call you or even if her nickname will be consistent, but she will give anyone, and everyone a nickname of some sort. Always.
    • "Jiggles! Big guy! Pencil! Tough guy! Let's go!"
  • Chamo from Mahou Sensei Negima.
  • Fai from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle starts calling Grumpy Bear Kurogane various nicknames (often some variant of "Kuro-pon" or "Kuro-rin") that becomes a running gag. When Fai stops using the nicknames it's obvious that something has gone very, very wrong, and likewise the next time he uses one everyone is relieved that he's back to normal. Fay openly states that he had never used nicknames for anyone before Kurogane. Hint hint. Kurogane might also apply: Tomoyo is the only person he ever calls by their real name. Fay is "the mage", Sakura "the princess", Syaoran "the kid", Mokona "the meat bun" and Yuuko is "the witch".
  • Gigalt from Planetes cannot remember a name, and makes up a nickname for each character he interacts with, but it must have meaning for him. He cannot seem to remember names otherwise. He gave Hachi his nickname, called Ai 'Angel', etc.
  • The titular character of Naruto almost never refers to certain people by their names, instead using nicknames he has chosen for them, often against their wishes. "Old Hag" (obaa-chan) and "Pervy Sage" (ero-sennin) are the most notorious examples, though he also called the previous Hokage "Old Man" (ojii-san).
  • Ritchie from the Pokémon anime, to his Pokemon team; each and every one is nicknamed, which is rare for the anime.
  • Gold from the Pokémon Special manga has a nickname for everyone except his rival, Silver. Examples include Strict/Serious Girl (Crystal), Prissy Boy (Ruby) and Wild Girl (Sapphire).
    • Most characters nickname their Pokémon in PokeSpe, for that matter. Though some are more original than others.
  • Suzuna the cheerleading captain of the Deimon Devilbats in Eyeshield 21 nicknames most of the team apart from Sena and Monta. She once got an omake page listing all her nicknames for them. She even took to calling the pointy-eared Youichi Hiruma "You-nii" ("Elf-bro").
    • Hiruma himself gives everyone a caring, sweet and kind Fucking Nickname.
    • One of the incidental characters (who gave Eyeshield 21 the nickname "E.S.") is later revealed to make up nicknames for everything all the time.
    • Probably intentional; Suzuna calls Jerk Jock Agon "Agon-nii." Yep. Agony.
    • Agon himself has a nickname for almost everyone. Short Trash (Sena), Slimy Trash (Hiruma), Fat Pig/Fat Trash (Kurita), Garbage Brothers (Ha-Ha Bros), and Unko-Chan (Unsui) are the more memorable ones. Ikkyu seems to be the only one Agon calls by name.
  • Tomo from Azumanga Daioh deserves mention, simply because she came up with the name Osaka.
  • Lavi in D.Gray-man calls his Badass Grandpa mentor "Panda," Krory the not-actually-a-vampire "Kro-chan" ("Krorykins" in the English version), Kanda the epic Badass by his Embarrassing First Name Yu, and occasionally calls Allen "Beansprout." Needless to say, said characters do not usually appreciate this.
    • After Lavi re-named Link "two spot" and the person in question got irked by the remark ("How rude!"), Allen commented in nonchalant fashion:

"Oh, you're not going to have any effect like that. Link, Lavi's a child, so he loves giving people nicknames. You have to be a lot more forceful if you want him to stop."
Lavi: "Say Allen, have you forgotten that I'm actually older than you...?"

    • Tyki Mikk also has a habit of doing this, calling Lavi "Eyepatch-kun", Kanda "Kitchen-Knife", and exclusively referring to the young protagonist Allen as "shonen" (boy).
    • Kanda almost never calls people by their first names. Allen is "Moyashi," (beansprout) and Lavi is "Baka Usagi" (stupid rabbit) or "Baka Lavi" (Stupid Lavi).
  • The photography club's president in Manabiya gives everyone nicknames she comes up with on the moment; so while some of them are very pleased by this, others are not.
  • Shampoo of Ranma ½, especially in Fanon.
  • Eve Neuschwanstein of NEEDLESS, due to her atrocious memory for names.
  • Izaya and Erika from Durarara!! are both prone to this, though for different reasons. Izaya tends to throw out infantilizing nicknames for old highschool "friends" (i.e. Shizu-chan and Dotachin for Shizuo and Kadota) out of disrespect for them. Erika tends to give everyone equally silly nicknames (as well as commandeer Izaya's) because she's a raging Fan Girl and thinks they're cute.
  • Luigi Yoshida in Giant Killing not only nicknames others around him but apparently made the rest of the team call him "The Prince" (he also has another nickname, Gino). Tatsumi the team manager refuses to call him by any of his nicknames until he proves himself.
  • Sanosuke Sagara has shades of this since he barely ever calls anyone by their given name. He calls Kaoru "Jou-chan" (translated to "Missy" in English), Megumi "kitsune" ("vixen" in English) most often, but anyone else he meets is probably not going to get called by their real name and will instead be referred to by whatever outstanding feature Sano notices. Humorously, Megumi calls him "tori-atama" (translated roughly to "birdhead" or "roosterhead") as retaliation.
  • Kafuka Fuura from Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei has her own naming conventions as an insanely positive cloud-cuckoolander; upon interrupting her future teacher's efforts at 'making himself taller' (read: suicide attempt) she nicknamed him 'Pink Supervisor' after the tree he was trying to hang himself from, 'Pink CEO', which she named on the spot. She constantly comes up with more positive names for things e.g. 'treasure chests for the homeless' (bins) and 'deep love' (stalking).
  • In One Piece you have to earn the right for Luffy to remember your real name. Especially apparent with Hancock, who remained Hammock while Luffy was still mad at her for turning her loving subjects to stone, and only became Hancock when she regained Luffy's respect by going the extra mile by facing her fears of going to fight for the marines so she could help him save Ace. But even if Luffy likes you, you might end up with one of his affectionate nicknames, like Cricket the "diamond head guy" or Inazuma "Crab-chan".
    • Robin is the nicknamer within the Straw Hat crew. She is fond of using Hey, You and if she does go by name, it's by a simple nickname such as Long-nose-kun (Usopp), Swordsman-san (Zoro) or Cook-san (Sanji). The only crewmate she calls by name is Luffy and that was after she had finally found her place with the Straw Hats. Previously, she had called him Straw Hat like his other foes.
  • Rintaro of Steins;Gate has nicknames for everyone. Itaru is "Daru", Moeka is "Shining Finger", and Kurisu has a truckload of nicknames, including "Christina" ("There's no '-tina'!"), "The Zombie" and "Celeb-17".
  • Sakuragi Hanamichi in Slam Dunk has a tendency of giving nicknames to some of his rivals: Akagi is "Gori" (short for 'Gorilla'), Uozumi is "Boss Monkey", Hanagata is "Glasses", and Nobunaga is "Wild Monkey" (and in turn, he's called "Red-haired Monkey" by Nobunaga)
  • Hayate from Hayate X Blade.
  • Riko's father, Kagetora, from Kuroko no Basuke. Kise may count to a lesser extent, as he adds "cchi" to the end of the names of people he's acknowledged, whether they want him to or not.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • The Incredible Hulk did this when he was a member of The Defenders. Dr. Strange became "Dumb Magician", Valkyrie became "Sword Girl" and Nighthawk became "Bird Nose".
  • Harley Quinn of Batman fame refers to her lover the Joker as "Mr. J" or "Puddin'", and her other lover best friend Poison Ivy as "Red" (for her red hair).
  • Ra's Al Ghul calls Batman "Detective", and on the occasions he's faced Superman, he calls him "Icon" or "The Alien". More recently, he's taken to also calling Tim Drake "Detective" after Tim proved his skills against Ra's and earned his respect.
  • In Sgt Rock, nicknames for all the members is the tradition of Easy Company, with Rock personally doling them out (And being the sole exception to the rule). This is explained as a coping mechanism for the unpleasant things they might have to do in the service of their duties in war, and to soften the blow should any of them die. And they do.
    • Apparently Truth in Television, as this is reportedly not an uncommon practice in times of war. It's also appeared in war fiction quite a few times, so maybe the 'Nicknamer sergeant' should be considered a subtrope of the Nicknamer.
  • The Taskmaster has a long history of obnoxious pet names for all, going right back to his first appearance in the 1980s. And considering how many superheroes and villains he's interacted with, that's a lot of pet names. This trait comes and goes a bit with later writers and how well they keep to his original "snarky Bronx thug" persona, though.
  • Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four, usually of the semi-derogatory kind: "Stretch", "Stretcho", "Rubber Head", "Big Brains", "Professor", "Doc", "High Pockets", etc for Reed; "Match-head" "Matchstick", "Bic-head", "Flame-Brain", "Hothead", "Sparky", "Firefly", etc for Johnny. He always calls Sue by the pet names "Suzy" or "Suzy-Q" however, possibly since she's the one who pisses him off the least.
  • Zoe of Baby Blues has nicknames for every person in her class, based on their personal habits.
  • The Dragon Lady from Terry and the Pirates refers to everyone as 'something one'. Pat Ryan is 'handsome one', Terry Lee is 'youthful one', etc.
  • Bean the Dynamite from Sonic The Hedgehog is quite the nicknamer. He's called Sonic "Speedy Mc Quickness", "Mr. Needlemouse" and "Speedy Cheese"; called Tails "Propellor Butt"; called Amy "Piko Piko Valkyrie" and "Shouty Hammer Mc Pain"; called Jet the Hawk "Jettinson Q. Hawkington" and called Blaze "Little Miss Flaming Lilac". He also named one of his bombs "Jamie-Kendall Duckingworth III". Unusual in that the nicknames he gives are always longer than the real names.
  • Spider-Man is fond of shortening the names of his allies and villians. The Green Goblin and the Hobgoblin are Gobby and Hobby, Doctor Octopus is Doc Ock, Daredevil is DD or Hornhead, he's borrowed Matchstick from Ben Grimm for The Human Torch etc. In at least one adapation, insulting Max Dillion with the name "Electro" is what inspires him to use it as his villian name.

Fan Works[edit | hide]

  • Oh, do the four in With Strings Attached go to town with this trope! Some examples:
    • Placenames: Ketafa = Ketawful, Ta'akan = Tacky
    • As'taris: Ass, Asshole, Santa's Ass, and Jeez-Ass (after he's resurrected).
    • The Hunter becomes “the Lumberjack” after they watch him cut firewood with his BFS, which mutates into “Lumberjackass” and “the loathsome Lumberjack.”
    • The Vasyn: The Vaseline, the Aspirin, the thingy, and the Big Pink Job.
    • The four attract their share of nicknames as well.
  • The Elemental Chess Trilogy gives this role to Edward Elric, but in a limited capacity. He only does it to Roy Mustang, for whom he never uses the same nickname twice, calling him things like "General Chess Fiend," "General Skirtchaser," and "the walking cigarette lighter." On the rare occasion he uses the man's real name, it's a pretty serious situation.
  • JoJo Bates, the protagonist of The Gift even makes a nickname for her therapist.
  • In Winter War, Madarame Ikkaku starts giving nicknames in imitation of his missing vice-captain. For example, he calls Momo "Peaches" and Grimmjow "Boy Blue".
  • Douglas Sangnoir from Drunkard's Walk seems to do this often, usually for people with whom he is at odds. For example:
    • In Drunkard's Walk 2, the Knight Sabers became "Lady White and the High-Heel Gang".
    • In Drunkard's Walk 8, he gives Voldemort numerous nicknames: "Flight-of-Emo" and "Lord Emo" are the two most common. Referring to her amphibian-like appearance, he dubs Dolores Umbridge "Lady Innsmouth".

Film[edit | hide]

  • Gunnery Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket gives each of his Marines a nickname in bootcamp. Not only does this stick throughout the movie, but for many of the characters, it's the only name the audience learns.
  • Brian, the floor manager in Extract, refers to almost all of his subordinates as "Dinkus", with the one exception being a character he calls "Forklift Dinkus" or "Boy Genius".
  • Iron Man does it a lot in The Avengers.
    • To be exact, Captain America is "Old Man" (who is technically 70+ years old), as well as "Capsicle" (due to his status as a Human Popsicle). Thor is "Point Break" (because of his long blond hair and beard). Hawkeye is "Legolas" (being an archer). Loki is "Reindeer Games" (due to the helmet) and "Rock of Ages" (due to his regalia). Loki's staff is "the Glowstick of Destiny" (which glows and mind controls people).

Folklore[edit | hide]

  • Sir Kay in Arthurian legend appears to be unpopular with the court partially because of this (and his tendency to make fun of whoever he does it to). When Sir Gareth comes to court in disguise and refuses to give his name, Kay calls him Beaumains, bad[1] French for "Pretty Hands;" when Brunor the Black arrives at court wearing the coat his father was murdered in, he becomes far better known by what Kay calls him: Sir La Cote Male Taile;[2] and he refers to Sagramore as "Morte Jeune" (young corpse) on occasion due to his epilepsy-like fits. In T.H. White's The Once and Future King, he is the one that gave Arthur the nickname Wart because it rhymes with Art, or at least did in the accent of the age.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Simon Darcourt, a repeat character in Christopher Brookmyre novels, makes his mark early by never calling anyone by their real name if he can substitute one of his own ("But you just are [insert nickname], don't you see?"). Div, the designated ditz in their circle of friends, even gets to call him on it:

"He thinks he's Jesus the noo. "Simon, I dub thee 'Peter'".

  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden has been known to nickname people whose actual names he doesn't know, so we get things like "Spinyboy," "Turtleneck," and "Eyebrow." But the most awesome nicknaming he ever did was when he decided that "Knights of the Order of the Blackened Denarius" was too dignified and started referring to a bunch of centuries-old demon-possessed psychos and their terrifying leader Nicodemus as "Nicky and The Nickelheads."
    • This tendency turns out remarkably well for Harry on several occasions. Thanks to the inherent power of names, there are at least three instances in the books in which Harry gives a very powerful magical entity a nickname and, in doing so, influences it for the better. The entities in question are a spirit of intellect with vast knowledge of magic and lore ("Bob the Skull"), the Archive of the entire collected knowledge of mankind ("Ivy") and the psychic imprint or "shadow" of a fallen angel named Lasciel ("Lash"). Lash is an especially noteworthy case in that by giving her a name of her own, Harry gave her an identity separate from Lasciel and introduced her to the concept of free will. This is questionable about Ivy. It seems to be good, but, Luccio does make some good, if absolutely heartless, points about why The Archive isn't supposed to do that.
    • "Shagnasty" the skinwalker. Justified, since it feeds on fear and therefore calling it something that isn't silly will just make it stronger.
    • He also does it with monsters when he doesn't like their real names. In Summer Knight, he decided that "plant monster" sound stupid and started calling it a "chlorofiend" instead; the Ik'k'uox in Changes became "The Ick" in the interests of pronounceability, and Esteban and Esmerelda, a pair of feared Red Court vampire assassins, become "the Eebs".
    • And in Blood Rites, he abbreviates "Black Court vampires" to "blampires" when signalling with his staff; Ebenezar initially thinks he's cocked up the Morse code.
      • Ghost Story has "Captain Turtleneck" and "The Big Hoods" (which would, incidentally, make a Good Name for A Rock Band). Later he calls Uriel, the freaking archangel and God's own Spy Master, "Uri". Uriel isn't pleased (at all) about having such a significant part of his name left off, but subsequently accepts "Mr. Sunshine" as an alternative.[3]
  • As befitting the fact that they're homages to the same tradition, Mack, of The Automatic Detective, enjoys nicknaming all the mooks he interacts with in much the same manner as Dresden. Luckily for him, he lives in a world full of mutants and aliens, making his job easier, nicknames such as "Dome Head", "Hairlip" and "Jellyfish" being entirely accurate descriptions.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, Johnny is the official nickname generator for his friends. In the second book it takes him a moment to remember that Bigmac's social worker would know him as Simon.
  • Jesus. They were generally Meaningful Names (or Meaningful Not-Really-Names-At-All like Peter), but then you throw in the Retcon that is Paul and he'll probably Never Live It Down.
  • Howard in Gone (novel). He names The FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone), the Zekes (Easy-Killers), and presumeably Orc.
  • Though she rarely addresses them by their nicknames to their faces, Senna Wales can get into this habit. By her account, the four members of the series' Nakama are called, "General Davideus", "the clown", "the smug bastard", and "the cow."
  • Aaron Allston's Star Wars Expanded Universe short story The Pengalan Tradeoff has Joram Kithe, an accountant sent to gauge the skills of clone troopers, finding himself cut off in enemy territory with them. Annoyed with their lack of names and the inconvenience of using their numbers, he gives them all nicknames - Tooth, Mapper, Digger, Hash - based on little differences, which he encourages in order to make it easier for him to tell them apart. In doing this he damages their absolute unity, making them considerably less interchangeable, but also encouraging them to think more creatively and humanizing them, for himself and the readers.
  • In 101 Ways to Bug Your Parents, the cool kid in the main character's class gave the entire class nicknames. This included the teacher who was known as "The Scribbler". The main character (Steve) is known as "Sneeze", due to his asthma. His best friend (Hector) is called "Hiccup", because of, well, his hiccups.
  • Sammy Keyes does this to absolutely everyone she meets before she knows their real names. If she doesn't particularly like them, though, the nickname tends to stick forever. Two of her nicknames ("Snake Eyes", "Psycho Kitty Queen") even became titles of books!
  • Lotus Cloud from Bridge of Birds gives all of her (numerous) suitors ridiculously cutesy nicknames. It's a testament to her goddess-related ability to make men become hopelessly devoted to her that Ten Ox doesn't mind being called "Boopsie" by her at all.
  • Every marine from Malazan Book of the Fallen is given a nickname during bootcamp. There is usually some reason for the nickname, such as Tarr being the kind of fighter to "stick" to his position in a battle or Fiddler playing one mean... fiddle. And then there's Rumjugs.
  • In David Carkeet's whimsical linguist mystery Double Negative, the characters' MeaningfulNames (the clumsy guy is called Woeps, the weird inquisitive guy is Aaskhugh, the soon-to-be-dead guy is called Stiph, etc.) are reinforced for the reader, though not for the slightly oblivious characters, by Aaskhugh's peculiar nicknames (his name for Woeps is "Daisy," and so on).

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Murdock, from The A-Team could be considered this. He frequently comes up with nicknames for his teammates (well, for B.A. and Face, at least). He usually only uses a nickname once or twice; he calls B.A. 'The Baracan One' a couple of times. His most frequent one for B.A. is mud-sucker. He's also called Faceman numerous nicknames, including, 'Visage Man', 'O Facial One', 'Man of the Countenance', and 'Faceyman' (he used all of those only once). Also, some of Murdock's remarks about Face in the fifth season episode Family Reunion have led some fans to suspect that Murdock may have been the one who came up with the nickname 'Faceman' in the first place.
  • Sawyer from Lost. So much so that at one point the rest of the islanders forbade him from using nicknames when he lost a bet. Juliet is noted as the only major character to not have any of them, outside of briefly being called "Blondie" in season 5's finale.
  • Dr. Cox does this on Scrubs. Elliot is "Barbie", J.D. is "Newbie" or "random feminine name", Turk is "Gandhi" or "Turtlehead"/"Turtleneck" and Kelso is "Bob/Bobbo/Beelzebob/Bobcat".
    • J.D. does this a lot in later seasons, too, possibly aping Cox. It becomes a plot point when he's challenged by the Almighty Janitor to name all the staff in the hospital by their real names because they're all so annoyed by the constant nicknames.
    • The Janitor also does this, calling Elliot "Blonde Doctor", Turk "Black Doctor", Cox "Angry Doctor", and Carla "Scary Doctor Wife".
    • Colonel Doctor, Snoop Dogg Intern/Resident/Attending, The Todd, Tasty Coma Wife, Gift Shop Girl, Crazy Eyes Margo, and Cabbage. Even the Janitor is a nickname, and he sometimes goes by "Dr. Jan Itor".
    • In one episode, where J.D. is assigned with surgical teams, he gives them all nicknames. They all sound strangely phallic.
    • Kelso calls Turk "Turkleton." His real name is Christopher Turk, but even his wife just calls him Turk. Kelso may honestly believe that his name is "Turk Turkleton," or he may have been spouting nonsense because he was just that drunk.
  • This was the schtick of Rob Schneider's Saturday Night Live character "The Richmeister".
  • On Friends, Ross had trouble remembering his students' names, so he came up with nicknames. Elizabeth was "Cutie McPretty".
    • Similarly, Joey names the other people in the apartment building this way. Examples include "Some Kids I've Seen" and "Guy with Red Hair Who Does Not Like to Be Called Rusty".
  • John Crichton, and to a lesser extent, Chiana, on Farscape did this to almost everyone. Nicknames include:
    • Heavy D, D (D'Argo)
    • Pip (Chiana)
    • Blue (Zhaan)
    • Sparky, Spanky, Fluffy, Guido, Buckwheat (Rygel)
    • Shellhead (Pilot)
    • Astro (Stark)
    • Princess (Jool)
    • Sputnik (Sikozu)
    • Grandma, Wrinkles (Noranti)
    • Scorpy, Grasshopper (Scorpius)
    • Harvey (Scorpius' neural clone)
    • S.S. Buttcrack (Moya)
    • Old Man (Chiana's nickname for Crichton)
  • Andy Bernard from The Office is a fan of doing this, such as calling Jim 'Big Tuna', simply because of his lunch choice.
    • Andy's even called Jim and Pam's unborn baby by Baby Tuna.
    • Michael Scott was also a fan of this, not so much around the office itself but he did use it for clients and such as a way of quickly remembering new people. See for instance his introduction of Darryl, and the episode where he is giving a speech in another Dunder Mifflin office branch.
  • Shawn Spencer on Psych seems to have no shortage of funny nicknames for Gus when they need aliases. Although,"Gus" itself is a nickname as the character's full name is Burton Guster.
    • He also called Lassiter 'Lassie' and Juliet 'Jules'. The only people that didn't get this are Vick and Henry.
  • Jasmine from Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger nicknames many of the monsters she runs into. In the team-up movies she even nicknamed the other teams.
  • There was a Seinfeld episode where everyone at George's office gets a nickname, by order of the boss. George eats a T-Bone steak, in a blatant attempt to get the macho nickname of T-Bone. It doesn't work, some coworker gets his coveted nickname instead, and he gets stuck with the nickname Koko (as in, Koko the monkey). He manages to get rid of it, but instead gets an even worse one instead, Gammy.
  • All of the Taros from Kamen Rider Den-O, but especially Momotaros. Later in the series they try to get Ryotaro to come up with a cool name for Liner Form's Finishing Move, and, when the best he can do is "Densha Giri (Train Slash)", bemoan his lack of sense.
  • Xander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer makes up nicknames for nearly everyone. (Contrary to most fanfic, though, he never reuses them, which might be why we almost never hear him give Willow a nickname... he ran out of original nicknames for her years ago.)
    • Spike also does this. He calls Willow "Red" a few times, and Illyria "Big Blue". Most of the other cast is called by their nickname only once or twice. Also, he calls Angel "Captain Forehead".
      • But if you are a girl, especially Buffy or Fred, expect to be called "Pet" or "Luv".
      • He calls Dawn "Little Bit" and "the Niblet" sometimes.
      • He called Buffy "Goldilocks" until Buffy responded by getting an Important Haircut.
    • Faith had a habit of calling Buffy 'B', but does so less later in the series.
  • On Angel, Gunn sometimes called Wesley 'English' in reference to his nationality.
    • Lorne, "And stop calling me pastries!"
  • Somewhat like Xander above, Topher on Dollhouse usually uses real names but often makes up nicknames. Most are only used once; his most persistent one is "Man-Friend" for Boyd.
  • Stargate SG-1: Jack O'Neill does this to people he doesn't like, especially the Goa'uld. The jury's still out on whether that's defiant scorn or an inability to remember their (sometimes hard-to-pronounce) names. There was one annoying human character whom he called "Sparky," and he refers to Teal'c's symbiote as "Junior."
  • Stargate Atlantis: John Sheppard does a similar thing with all the Wraith they meet, including Steve, Bob, Todd, and Michael. (The Wraith either don't have names or don't tell Humans their names, so Sheppard generally gives them very ordinary, human nicknames to make up for it). Lt. Ford tries to name a lot of things, but he is repeatedly shot down by the master (aforementioned John Sheppard), most notably in the debate between calling the Lantian Shuttle "Gate Ship" (It's a ship that goes through the 'Gate!) or Sheppard's version: Puddle Jumper. Sheppard wins out in the end.
  • Spinelli, resident Cloudcuckoolander of General Hospital, pathologically refuses to call anyone by their given name, instead nicknaming them according to one of their perceived attributes. A short list:
    • Jason (Stone Cold)
    • Sonny (Mr. Sir)
    • Maxie (Maximista)
    • Carly (The Valkyrie)
    • Jax (The Valkyrie's White Knight)
    • Spinelli (The Jackal)
    • (Fair) Lulu
    • Sam (The Goddess)
    • Alexis (Mother of The Goddess)
  • Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It and In the Loop has an insulting nickname for everyone. He hardly ever uses the same nickname twice, but they are inevitably themed - Julius Nicholson's relate to him being bald ("Nosferatu", "Baldemort"), Ollie's relate to the fact that he looks young ("Joe 90", "Baby from Eraserhead"), and Nicola seems destined to be stuck with "Glummy Mummy".
  • House provides a Jerkass version of this trope. He comes up with new, insulting nicknames for everyone every time he sees them. Only one sticks: "Thirteen" for Dr. Remy Hadley. Although black Mormon "Big Love" and Cutthroat Bitch both had pretty good runs. House not calling Amber Cutthroat Bitch even makes for at least two distinct OOC Is Serious Business moments.
  • Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear assigned his co-presenters (Richard "Hamster" Hammond and James "Captain Slow" May) their nicknames. They stuck, and have been affectionately taken up by the fanbase.
  • Hiro from Heroes does this enough that it might as well be one of his superpowers. Sylar is "Brain-Man", Daphne is "Nemesis", Matt Parkman's baby is "Baby Stop-And-Go", Nathan is "Flying Man", Claire is "Cheerleader", and Samuel is "Evil Butterfly-Man". Fans tend to accept the Engrish forms of Hiro's nicknames as their own. Isaac => Mister Isaac => Mystery Sock.
    • When Hiro meets a man in Africa who has the same power as Isaac, he takes to calling him "Mr. African Isaac." "Mister Africany Sock" hasn't caught on, though.
  • Dean Winchester from Supernatural often loves nicknaming people, calling Sam "Sammy" and Castiel "Cas". Especially if he doesn't like you, he gives more satirical ones, like "Chuckles" and "Junkless" to Uriel and a few unflattering names to Zachariah. He also calls all priests "Padre"
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: "Meet the Hobgoblins: Frankie, Sniffles, Bounce-Bounce and The Claw!"
    • Can't mention Mystery Science Theater 3000 without bringing the hurricane of nicknames they gave the star of Space Mutiny.
    • It's worse than that. Joel/Mike and the Mads have no shortage of nicknames for each other. There's a massive list of all instances of this here, for those interested.
  • On an episode of Just Shoot Me, an intern was giving cute nicknames for everyone in the office, except for Elliot. When he confronts him about it, Elliot learns that the intern had too much respect for him to give him a nickname. Once he got the intern to loosen up, however, he found that none of the nicknames he came up for him ("Clicky", "Snaps") were not to his liking.
  • CJ Cregg from The West Wing, whose nicknames are frequent but mostly one-offs. She does however have some recurring ones such as "Spanky" for Sam, "Tobus" for Toby, and "____ my man" for anyone, male or female. She also constantly addresses Charlie as "Chaz", "Chip", "Chuck", "Chuckles", "Chipper", "Sparky", "Gilligan", etc (the two of them have a lot of semi-adopted-sibling rivalry.)
    • Josh also has a little bit of this going on, like his random decision to call a high school boy named Billy "Fred" throughout an episode just for the hell of it.
  • On Glee, this is just another part of Sue's magnificently evil personality. Emma Pillsbury is called any woman's name but her own ("Wilma", "Edna", and "Edith", among others). Principal Figgins is "Figgy". Tina? "Asian". Mike? "Other Asian". Mercedes? "Aretha". Artie? "Wheels". Kurt? "Gay Kid", "Don Knotts", and "Ladyface".
    • Lampshaded when Kurt protests that last one, and Sue allows him to choose from three other possible nicknames: Gelfling, Porcelain, and Tickle Me Doe-Face (he chooses Porcelain).
    • Blaine is either "Other Gay" or "Young Burt Reynolds".
  • Kappa Tau on Greek is a fraternity full of nicknamers. Let's see, there's Spitter (Rusty), Beaver, Wade, Woodchuck, Ben Bennett, and Cappie (who's only known by his nickname).
    • This is to be expected (see the fraternity entry under "Real Life" examples.
  • Oliver Beene featured a kid called Nickname, who would come up with nicknames for everyone based on an unfortunate situation or quirk of that person.
  • Sungkyunkwan Scandal's Yong Ha.
  • John Pope, from Falling Skies has a habit of giving people nicknames (accurate or not) that only he ever seems to use.
  • Rumpole of Rumpole of the Bailey gives most characters in the series nicknames, most of which only he uses. Some of these are affectionate (e.g. "Portia" for Phyllida (Trant) Erskine-Brown), some are joking ("Soapy Sam" for Sam Ballard, "Miz Liz" for Liz Probert), and some are not particularly complimentary ("Bollard" for Ballard, and the judges--"The Mad Bull" for Mr Justice Bullingham being the most notable). The most notable is his nickname for his wife, which she never hears: "She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed".

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • For better or worse, Nate in Big Nate has gained a reputation as the school nickname guru.

Radio[edit | hide]

  • A sketch in The Long Hot Satsuma took nicknames, and those who give them, to ridiculous extremes.

Man: Come in, Ms. Peters! Meet the team!
Woman: Thank you very much, Mr. Trimble.
Man: Adrian! Do call me Adrian!
Woman: In that case, you must call me Pamela.
Man: Oh...if it's like that, then you must call me Widget!
Woman: Well then, you must call me Pammykins!
Man: And you must call me Twimble-Twonk!
(after lengthy debate regarding the matter)
Woman: Then who's he?
Man: He's Wilkinson.
Woman #2: But you must call him Zog, King of the Pixies!


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Police Chief Damon Gant from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, who usually uses a variation on their surname (e.g. "Edgeworth" becomes "Worthy" "Or should I say un-Worthy", "Wright" becomes "Wrighto", the Judge, Udgey).
    • Also Larry, who appears to have officially dubbed Phoenix and Edgeworth "Nick" and "Edgey."
    • Pearl is something of a nickname catcher, as only her mother calls her by her proper name - Phoenix calls her "Pearls" (in the Japanese version, her first name+chan) and Maya calls her "Pearly".
  • Norma Beatty from Tales of Legendia. Nicknames include:
    • Senny (Senel)
    • Teach (Wil)
    • C (Chloe)
    • Red (Moses)
    • JJ (Jay)
    • G Girl (Grune)
    • Shirl (Shirley)
    • Norma gets a nickname herself from Moses, who calls her Bubbles.
  • To a lesser extent, Zelos in Tales of Symphonia tries it with his team. Nobody likes the results, as he insults the other guys and objectifies the girls.
  • Kreia from KOTOR II almost never refers to or even addresses any of the Exile's other companions by their actual names/numbers, only titles:
    • Atton: "the fool" (or when they're alone together "murderer")
    • Disciple: "tiny Jedi"
    • Handmaiden: "servant of Atris"
    • Mira: "the huntress"
    • Hanharr: "the beast"
    • Bao-Dur: "the alien" or "The Iridonian"(which is what other members of the party call him as well)
    • Visas: "the seer"
    • T3-M4, G0-T0, HK-47: "the machines". This makes her never calling the exile by her real name much less out of place than it is for every other instance of the trope.
  • Jinx, a minor character from the Jak and Daxter series frequently refers to Jak as "pretty boy", "Goldielocks", "blondie" or "Jakey-boy".
    • Daxter has a nickname for everyone, whether they're friends ("tall, dark and gruesome"), rivals ("feather breath"), his girlfriend ("angel cheeks"), his biggest enemy ("metalo-maniac") or himself ("orange lightning"). The list goes on.
  • The main character of Suikoden Tierkreis has a habit of calling characters by other names (he consistently calls Mubal "Scholar Guy", for example), which could arguably be justified since the game has 108 characters in it. Lampshaded when he meets a character that nicknames him, and they both correct each other.
  • Ami and Mami of The Idolmaster call you "nii-chan" and have nicknames for each of the other idols. Examples:
    • Yukiho is "Yukipo"
    • Miki is "Mikimiki"
    • Haruka is "Harurun"
  • The Team Fortress 2 cast call eachother by nicknames all the time (guess it helps the fact they never use their real names and call themselves by their classes) but the Scout is the biggest nicknamer of all. Here is a small compilation of such "nicknames":
    • Engineer: "Hardhat, Overalls, Tough Guy"
    • Pyro: "Mumbles, Mute fricken Moron, bib-wearin' dope"
    • Medic: "Doc, Docta, Deutsch-bag"
    • Heavy Weapons Guy: "Pancakes, Fatcakes, Tons-of-fun, Fat bald bastard, Fat bald fatty fat-fat, Lardfat..."
    • Demoman: "Cyclops, Bomb-throwing drunk"
    • Sniper: "Frickin' Coward"
    • Spy: "Shape-shifting rat"
    • He also calls enemies in general "Knuckleheads", "Chucklenuts", "Dummies" and his teammeates "pallies".
      • The Spy only seems to acknowledge the Engineer as "Laborer".
      • The Engineer has a few as well: "Mumbles" for Pyro, "Sawbones" for Medic, among others.
  • Everyone in Endless Frontier, to the point that it's rare for characters to call each other by their proper names at all.
  • Everyone in The World Ends With You, especially Beat. Seriously, Shiki is probably the only person who uses real names. Even the items tend to use nicknames ("Pi-face's cap")
    • Neku: "Phones"
    • Shiki: "Stalker"
    • Beat: "Skulls/Freshmeat/Rottenmeat/Beat itself"
    • Rhyme: "Skulls Jr./Rhyme"
    • Joshua: "Pretty Boy, Prissy Kid"
    • Mr. Hanekoma: "Mr. H, CAT"
    • Koki: "Lollipop"
    • Uzuki: "Pinky"
    • Yodai: "Steroids, Ram-Crotch", "Big Guy"
    • Sho: "Pi-Face, The Grim Heaper"
    • Mitsuki: "Iron Maiden, Ironface, Her Iron Mugliness"
    • Megumi: "Megs, Shades"
  • Taokaka (of BlazBlue) does this with everyone she meets, since she's extremely forgetful with everything. Here's a list:

Taokaka: "Hey, why didn't you say something when I called your names meow?"
Ragna: "That's because you never said our names, idiot."

  • BioWare seems to be fond of this one.
    • In Dragon Age Origins, the DLC-only character Shale never calls anyone by their names and always uses the pronoun "it" towards the Player Character (referred to as "The Grey Warden" in conversations with others). When questioned about this, Shale tells the PC that golems are always referred to as "golem" or "it", so Shale just pays it back in equal measure. Nicknames include "the Second Warden" (Alistair), "the Swamp Witch" (Morrigan), "the Elder Mage" (Wynne), "the Drunken Dwarf" (Ohgren), "the Painted Elf" (Zevran), "the Qunari" (Sten), and "the Sister" (Leliana).
    • Ashley Williams from the Mass Effect 1 will always refer to military personnel by their jargon nicknames, calling Shepard "Skipper" and Lieutenant Kaidan "L-T".
    • Kasumi Goto from Mass Effect 2 will cheerfully assign nicknames to whomever she feels like, constantly calling Shepard "Shep" and referring to the Illusive Man as "Mr. Illusive."
    • In Dragon Age II, Varric Tethras refers to almost all the party members by nicknames, ranging from "elf" (Fenris) to "blondie" (Anders), "choir-boy" (Sebastian), "sunshine" (Bethany), "daisy" (Merrill), and "the Rivaini" (Isabela). The only exceptions are Hawke, who's on Last-Name Basis with everyone, and Aveline. Aveline calls him on her lack of a nickname in one conversation; he says he can't think of a good one for her. With all the fun he makes at her expense, he still knows not to push it too far.
    • Mass Effect 3 has James Vega (yeah, BioWare likes this trope). Man-Shep is Loco, Fem-Shep is Lola, Garrus is Scars, Tali is Sparks and Steve Cortez is Esteban.
    • Javik, on Joker:

The pilot insisted I let him call me "Prothy" the Prothean. I insisted he allow me to throw him out the airlock.

  • The Elder Goddess Kalikai from Lusternia gained notoriety amongst Her peers for this. The crystalline Stoic Xyl was dubbed "Crystalcakes"; the unstoppable, cannibalistic warrior Morgfyre was dubbed "Morgpie"; and The Chessmaster Big Bad Fain became "The Fainiac".
  • If the player character of Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodlines is a Malkavian (crazy vampires who's voices in their head often give them supernatural insight) the dialoge instantly nosedives into this. They range from simple descriptions ("Nasty Dude", to an Orlock type vampire), to bad puns (a Thin-Blood who answers to E is called "the one who comes before F and G"), to Genius Bonuses (Mercurio is called the "fleetfooted god", a title of the roman god Mercury), to Foreshadowing (Jeanette and Therese are called the daughters of Janus, the two faced god; both turn out to be aspects of a split personality).
    • The Malkavian has one exception to this, when you call Velvet "Susan".
  • Rorona of Atelier Rorona does this all the time, as she's pretty ditzy (by her own admission and that of her peers) and doesn't digest long names very well. She calls her childhood friend Cordelia "Cory", the dancer Lionela "Liona" (and she also has nicknames for her two kitty puppets), and tries to get Sterkenburg the knight to answer to "Sterky", but it doesn't stick (most people call him "Sterk" anyway).
  • You can invoke this trope if you wish in the Pokémon games.
  • Dia has shades of this, though she's uninspired about it; Roland, Rashe and Rina are christened Kid, Other Kid and Other Other Kid (Girl if she's lucky) before they finish introducing themselves.
  • Final Fantasy IV has Namingway. The only reason to talk to Namingway is to change your character's name. Isn't that right, Spoony?
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny:
    • Levi the Slasher, who apparently has trouble remembering the name of anyone who isn't a fellow Material, no matter how short the name is. So she just calls them things like Original (Fate, who she was based on), Black Feather (Reinforce), and Bushido (Signum).
    • Lord Dearche, meanwhile, is a Royal Brat who simply couldn't be bothered to call people she doesn't care about by their name. So she just calls Kyrie "Pinkie", and calls Hayate either "Little Raven" or "Stupid Raven".

Web Comics[edit | hide]

Web Original[edit | hide]

Western Animation[edit | hide]

"Fievel? Oooh, that name's gotta go! I'll tell ya what -- Filly!"

    • In his sequel appearances he tends to give more people nicknames too, such as calling Fievel's parents "Mr. and Mrs. M".
  • Baloo the Bear in Disney's The Jungle Book calls Mowgli "little britches" and calls Bagheera "Baggy".

Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Truth in Television: This was the first of George "Dubyah" Bush's quirks to percolate into the public consciousness, back when he was but a candidate (before even his tendency to malapropism became widely mocked). He even tagged his own senior adviser Turd Blossom. This tends to be exaggerated in parodies... Somewhat.
    • Used in Will Ferrell's one-man show You're Welcome America, where he plays Bush as an ignorant (but not psychopathic) manchild. In an improvised bit, he asks various audience members' occupations and gives them each a corresponding nickname.
    • Allegedly, Bush gave president-to-be Sen. Barack Obama the nickname "Rock Bama", which is probably the coolest thing ever. PRESIDENT ROCK.
    • On 30 Rock, the character "Cooter Burger" was given those names by Bush. Main character Jack Donaghy picked up the nickname "The Jacker."
    • In W., the nicknames are a mnemonic device that young Dubya uses to help him remember all his frat brothers names during his hazing (fortunately the brothers think the nicknames are funny instead of insulting). Impressively, he gets them all correct despite being drunk, half-naked, and soaking in ice water.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson did this a lot, too (maybe it's a Texas thing) especially with people he was trying to butter up. For example, he referred to Senator Richard Russell as "Mr. Wisdom."
  • Harry Truman did this too. For example, referring to Estes Kefauver (D-Tenn.) as "Cow-fever".
  • ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman has a nickname for everyone. Usually they are Puns like Joseph "Live and Let" Addai.
    • In the case of Andre "Bad Moon" Rison, it actually was picked up by other announcers. And him. He has a "Bad Moon Rison" tattoo.
    • But not Jake "Daylight Come And I Wanna" Delhomme.
    • Maybe it's a sportscaster thing? Keith Olbermann only gives nicknames to people he doesn't like, but he makes up for it by giving them four or five each.
    • Mexican sportscaster Enrique Bermúdez, apart from his deep voice and his unorthodox diction, is also famous for this. Some nicknames include "Duke of Catalunya" to Rafael Márquez, "Sa-sa-sa-salsita" to Carlos Salcido, "The Matador" for Luis Hernández, and "Little Pea" for Javier Hernández.
  • The late Peter Freyne, a local political columnist in Vermont. Two of the ones more recognizable to the rest of the country were "Ol'Bernardo" (Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT) and "Ho-Ho" (Former Gov. and DNC chairman Howard Dean).
  • First World War ace Edward 'Mick' Mannock was known for nicknaming other pilots in his squadron.
  • '50s rocker Eddie Cochran was known for nicknaming. He called his mother "Shrimper" in reference to her height. Musicians Bob Denton and Richard Rae were "the Brew Brothers" (they always had a beer in their hands). The road manager for Eddie's and Gene Vincent's UK tour, Hal Carter, was "Boody" for how Carter pronounced "buddy". Not sure if it was true that he actually called songwriter (and fiancee) Sharon Sheeley "Charlie Brown" or why.
  • The "Big Bang" (the space-time explosion, not the TV show) was named by the cosmologist Fred Hoyle in an attempt to belittle the concept. "Cubism" and "Fauvism" (the early 20th century art movements) were named by the critic Louis Vauxcelles with similar intent. In all these cases, names originally intended as derisory nicknames have gone on to achieve world-wide recognition.
  • This seems to have been a common thing among the Romans. Many Roman names are this, and many of those aren't of the nice sort. Like Plautus ("the flat-footed"), Brutus (not The Brute, but rather "the dumb"), Claudius ("the lame"), Crassus ("the fat"), and Flavius ("the blond" (Dumb Blonde?)).
    • The Romans remind one of nothing so much as a bunch of gangsters, with names like Horatius Flaccus ("Flabby" Horace), Tullius Cicero (Tully "the Bean"), and Claudius Pulcher ("Pretty Boy" Claude).
    • In fact, the entirety of ancient Roman society was based on a system of client-patron relations that bear a striking resemblance to those of the modern day Mafia. It's quite probable that the Mafia can claim to be the last survival of Imperial Rome. Just try to picture of all those ancient Emperors as thuggish godfathers, or vice versa: quite an interesting new perspective, isn't it.
  • It has been a tradition in virtually all college fraternities to give new initiates a nickname. Typically, the brothers who are in charge of choosing a nickname will tap into one of two sources:
    • Type A: an obvious trait. Someone who talks very low would be called Mumbles, and Sasquatch would be used for a large, hairy guy. If the initiate looks like a famous person or (even an obscure) character, then they will likely be named after their likeness.
    • Type B: an embarrassing or amusing story from their pledge period. Examples: "Splash" for someone who trips and falls into one of their college's fountains, and "Knoxville" for anyone who may try (and fail spectacularly) to copy one of the Jackass stunts on a dare.
    • Type C: Completely random or done for comedic irony, such as nicknaming a very mild-mannered pledge "Stone Cold" or nicknaming a pledge known for being very masculine and macho "Cupcakes".
  • The professional Poker scene as a whole is this trope. Most famous poker player get nicknames that they are commonly known by. However they are known by their real name as well.
  • Baseball legend Satchel Paige did this.
  • In highschool, you probably did this to talk about people without them knowing.
  • Queen Elizabeth I was said to have come up with nicknames for her courtiers.
  • Donald Trump's ability to push a nickname on his opponents and have them stick has been noted as one of his greatest strengths in rhetoric during the 2016 election. Highlights include "Little Marco" which worked so well it gave a man who is (slightly) taller than average a Napoleon Complex, and "Crooked Hillary" which became the center of his campaign in the general election.
  1. :Gendered names are difficult, aren't they?
  2. "La cote mal taillé"; French for "the knight of the ill-fitting coat"
  3. For those not fluent in classical Hebrew, "Uriel" means "God is my light", and the "el" part that Harry so carelessly omitted translates into "God". On the other hand, "Uriel" can be very, very loosely translated as "Mr. Sunshine", which is probably why the Archangel accepted it.