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Rachel: I was thinking, if it's a girl, how about Sandrine? It's French.

Ross: Huh. That's a really pretty name ... for an industrial solvent.
It's crazy enough that my parents decided to call me that, but it's even more crazy that some government worker let them make it official... Both groups are at the top of my must-kill list.
Battler Ushiromiya, Umineko no Naku Koro ni

Similar to Embarrassing Middle Name, this trope covers instances when a character has a first name that they don't like to be called by. Such characters use a variety of tactics to avoid their real first name:

  1. Getting a nickname (often one that hints at their embarrassing name).
  2. Picking a new first name.
  3. Claiming their middle name is their first name.
  4. Insisting that everyone call them by their last name.

If the first name is just the beginning in terms of embarrassment, then you might want to file the whole thing under Unfortunate Names. If people continue to call the character by that first name anyway, it may lead to a Do Not Call Me Paul scenario.

Compare Fail O'Suckyname.

Contrast Awesome McCoolname.

Examples of Embarrassing First Name include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Zeta Gundam has a male lead named Kamille, who naturally hates his feminine-sounding name. He eventually falls in love with a girl named Four, who has similar issues with her name (in her case, because it signifies that she is a number rather than an individual). It becomes hilarious when you realize there never would have been a Zeta Gundam if he hadn't been named Kamille, and the AEUG probably would have lost or at the very least have a longer and bloodier war.
  • Ranma One Half actually uses this as a plot point for one character: one Chinese village has a tradition that the person who gives a newborn baby its first bath must be the one to name it. Unfortunately, this gave panty stealing pervert Happosai the chance to name a baby, and since he loves women's garments so much he thought that the perfect name for a little boy would be Pantyhose Taro. Pantyhose Taro hates his name, and is on a constant quest to force Happosai to give him a new one, since Happosai is the only one who can change it. Unfortunately, his own choice of replacement first names aren't much better.

    For the curious, the other names Pantyhose Taro could have ended up with (Happosai begins trying to list some alternatives in Pantyhose Taro's first story before he finally decides that he just can't think of a better name then "Pantyhose Taro"), include, between the anime and the manga, "Loincloth Shiro", "Underwear Saburo", "Cockroach Goro", "Bellywrap Shishiro", and "Heartburn Rokuro".

    Bear in mind that the two things Happosai did was bathe him in the Jusenkyo Springs and name him, and he finds the name more offensive than the Involuntary Transformation bit (then again, he's well aware it's a Cursed with Awesome situation - he turns into a winged minotaur).
  • The Token Mini-Moe of Flame of Recca was very reluctant in giving her name to the heroes. The reason? Her name is Ganko (Stubborn). Cue much taunting and laughing from The Hero and The Big Guy.
  • In Narutaru, Shiina Tamai writes her first name in katakana (phoenetic characters) because she hates the kanji used for it, which is read as "empty husk" or "a seed that shall never sprout". It actually becomes a critical plot point near the end of the manga.
  • The male lead of Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is named Sakura. Poor guy.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima, the leader of a group of powerful, dangerous, though punch-clocky bounty hunters calls himself Alexander Zaytsev, also known as the "Twilight Zaytsev". His real name? Chiko-tan.
    • Fate Averruncus, Arch Enemy of the lead character, leader of a group of Psycho Ranger rogues and Big Bad of the current arc. His real name is Tertium and he hates being called by it.
    • Hey, let's be fair--anyone who can get away with using the name "Fate" is gonna prefer it to anything else.
  • Bleach: Ichigo. Sure, the kanji reading amounts to "protects one thing" but the name is also homonymous with "strawberry" (and his hair is orange). Even worse, it's also a girl's name. It doesn't help him maintain a badass image. Characters, and even the manga-ka in chapter titles, are not above exploiting this. He's even called "Berry-tan" to his face by Mashiro. Lampshaded when he first meets Ikkaku who takes note of his name because they share "Ichi-" as part of the name, concluding it's an awesome, lucky omen for both of them. Ichigo observes that he's not used to that kind of reaction when admitting what his name is.
  • Run-Run/La-La in Mahoujin Guru Guru is utterly embarrassed by her name, and can get violently angry if people constantly repeat it or, worse, sing it. She will also go do all in her power to prevent people who don't know her name from ever learning it and is annoyed by Nike's persistence in the matter.
  • The main character of the manga Okama Report is named, well, Okama, which more or less means "gay guy."
  • In the Read or Die OVAs, Nancy "Miss Deep" Makuhari is embarassed by her Western first name and prefers to go by her code name.
    • Though she also finds her code name a bit embarassing as well, as she muses that it sounds like a porn star's name.
  • D.Gray-man has Badass, Jerkass, sword-wielding Estrogen Brigade Bait Kanda Yu. Calling him by his first name will lead to swift annihilation.
  • In the original Japanese version of Dragon Ball (the original), Bulma hesitatingly says her name when Goku asks what it is. This is because she original thought her name was embarrassing because of what it sounded like (in the manga; in the anime, Goku just though it was a "funny name"). All of this got lost in both the Vancouver dub, and in Funimation's redub. In the original, Bulma is called Buruma, which is a Japanese pronunciation of "bloomers", a type of women's underwear (compare her son Trunks and her father Dr. Briefs).
  • Hanai from Ookiku Furikabutte has "Azusa", which is commonly given to girls, for his first name. He hates it so much that he makes his own mother call him by their family name instead.
  • In Bakugan Dan's last name is "Kuso". "Kuso" essentially means "shit". It's odd since the series is Japanese so its not a Critical Research Failure, and its a kid show at that.
  • Durarara has a running gag of people making fun of Mikado Ryugamine's extremely pretentious name (lit. "The Emperor of Dragon Peak").
  • Juliet Nao Zhang of Mai-Otome strongly dislikes her first name, and everyone except Shiho (who strongly dislikes her) and some of her gang members call her "Nao".


Comic Books Edit

  • Grunge of Gen13's first name is Percy, no surprise he uses his middle name instead.
  • In Preacher (Comic Book), Badass Irish vampire Cassidy goes by his last name. His first name: Proinsias. (Apparently pronounced "Francis", but that wouldn't help his image any.) "It's... a perfectly respectable Gaelic name... Oh Jaysis, Jesse, don't tell anyone!"
    • Well, it's the Irish Gaelic equivalent/translation of "Francis", but it's actually pronounced "pryne-SHEE-as". Yeah, I wouldn't tell anyone either.
  • Jughead and Jellybean Jones (from the Archie Comics) are named Forsythe and Forsythia respectively. In one story, Jughead goes out of his way to keep Jellybean's name from being revealed to the public via billboard, and both characters have had stories where people who try to call them by their real names ended up with misfortune.
    • Oddly, in Jughead's case, his distaste for his name is partly because any girl who hears it thinks it's suave and romantic and starts chasing him.
  • In the Tintin comics, the first name of Captain Haddock is only mentioned once (in the last finished album, no less). The Captain gets momentary amnesia after getting hit in the head, and when told by Tintin that his first name is Archibald he snarks and says that the name is ridiculous. Which might explain why nobody ever calls him by his first name otherwise.
    • Then again, no one gets called by their first name in the series, except Tintin, who doesn't seem to have any other name.
  • Miracleman featured a cold hearted, stone-tough assassin named... Evelyn Cream. Wow.
  • Few characters in the Brit series of comics realize that the title character's name is short for Brittany.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, Crutch is a tough as nails biker and ex-con. It turns out his given name is Leslie.
  • When the Penguin first revealed his full name, he said, "Yes, my name is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. And, please, no jokes."
  • Jubilation Lee in X-Men. Her friends call her Jubilee.
    • In addition, it turns out that Galactus' first name is Kirby.
  • In Le Scorpion, Hussar's first name is Aristotle. His father thought it would help him become a great philosopher.
  • In Death: The Time of Your Life, Foxglove's "minder" is Boris, who partly fits the trope of a Scary Black Man. Unfortunately, there are some things you can't hide from Death, so when in the course of a conversation she adresses him by his real name, Endymion, he hastens to point out to everyone present that he really prefers to be called Boris.
  • Quasar's first name is Wendell, and whilst he doesn't exactly hate it, he was apparently called Elvis (his middle name) in college.


Fan Fiction Edit

  • In Kira Is Justice, Justin's real name is Justice. Let's say it's both suitable and ironic since he's Kira.
  • In this Homestuck fanfic, Bro's first name turns out to be Calvin, with "Charles" (the name he used in the author's previous Bro fics) being only his middle name.
  • A Harry Potter round-robin story, "The Most Private Journal of Auror Captain Harry James Potter", features a character with the name "Liar Whore Who Sucks Men’s Screaming Souls Out Through Their Penises" -- known as Lia for short. Of course, since she's a succubus, her name is more like a job description... at least until she's accidentally bound to Harry.
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya canon, Sasaki's given name is unknown, so when Fujiwara asked her what it was in You Got Haruhi Rolled, the writer decided to give her the name of...Zelda. She's so embarrassed about this that even her mother is on a Last-Name Basis with her.
  • In the Disgaea fic known as "Disgaea: Jewel of the gods", chapter 7 reveals that Epic's real name is Leslie.
  • firescorpion121 is writing a Scoobyverse fic, tentatively titled Mystery Incorporated (link(s) to come), in which Red Herring from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo will have the given name Evelyn, which was originally a male name.


Film Edit

  • Hilts, from The Great Escape. Actually, he'd prefer Captain Hilts, but please, just don't call him Virgil.
  • Mervyn, the Sheriff of Rottingham from Robin Hood: Men in Tights. (Apparently this name is only allowed if one is the Governor of the Bank of England).
    • Another character had her name changed TO Latrine before the movie took place. It used to be Shithouse.
      • "It's a good change."
  • In Meet the Parents, Greg's real first name is Gaylord. His parents also call him "Gay".
  • The dominatrix from Shortbus is named Jennifer Aniston.
  • Ash from the Evil Dead movies. His real first name is actually Ashley... which is probably why he goes by Ash even as the clueless yuppie from the first movie.
  • In Quantum of Solace, the agent sent to pick up James Bond in Bolivia only gives her name as "Fields," and deflects further questions about it. Given that the credits give her first name as Strawberry, it's hard to blame her.
  • "Bud" White's real name is Wendall in L.A. Confidential.
  • Cobra's title character is actually named Marion Cobretti. He lampshades it at one point, when he explains "I'd prefer something a little tougher... like Alice."
  • Boss Spearman in Open Range doesn't reveal his actual name, "Bluebonnet," until he thinks he's facing his death.
  • And then of course, there's Michael Bolton, poor put-upon office worker (and not the "no-talent ass clown") from Office Space. "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks."
  • In The Wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson hates being called by his real name, Robin Raminski, partly because it's an embarrassing name and partly because he can't give up his wrestling alter-ego.
  • Stripes: "The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you."

  Lighten up, Francis.

  • In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the lumberjack brothers were all given names from the Bible in alphabetical order. Since there was no "F" name, the sixth brother got stuck with Frankincense. He violently insists on being called Frank.
  • In Ten Inch Hero, Priestly's first name is Boaz and Tish is short for Platisha. None of their friends know this about them because they hate their given names so much. Priestly's boss doesn't even know his first name.
  • Rubber Duck from Convoy reacts with embarrassment when he is addressed to by his whole real name which is Martin Penwald.
  • Roy O'Bannon from Shanghai Noon hides his whole real name, too, which happens to be Wyatt Earp. Judging by Chon Wang's reaction upon this, it is a truly embarrassing name.
  • In Tangled, the thief Flynn Rider's true name is Eugene. He changed his name because he thought it wasn't cool enough.
  • In the Indiana Jones series, Film/theLastCrusade reveals that Henry Walton "Indiana" Jones Jr. was named after his father, but apparently resentful enough of it to go under his dog's name instead.


Literature Edit

  • Several protagonists from novels by Robert A. Heinlein.
    • Glory Road has Evelyn Cyril Gordon, who went by E.C., often elided to "Easy", and later by "Scar" after he was injured in the Vietnam War. Which got misheard by his employer, the Empress of the Nine Universes, so he became "Oscar".
    • The Puppet Masters has "Sam", a secret agent who goes through several false identities. Only late in the novel does he go right up to his father and ask, "Dad, why did you name me Elihu?"
    • The Number of the Beast has Dejah Thoris Burroughs, who goes by D.T., or "Deety", and her husband Zebadiah John Carter, who goes by "Zebbie". Both names are a Shout-Out to the John Carter of Mars novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, heavily lampshaded
      • "Remember, it's not Mars. It's Barsoom!".
  • This is a staple of PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books. This is likely due to Pelham Grenville Wodehouse disliking his first two names intensely, hence his use of initials.
    • Jeeves' first name was eventually revealed to be Reginald. This is shocking not because the name doesn't suit him, but because we always assumed Jeeves didn't have a first name. Brinkley/Bingley's tendency to call him "Reggie" made matters even more embarrassing for all concerned.
    • In "Big Money", the rich man's name is T Patterson Frisby. What does the "T" stand for? Torquil. Naturally, he doesn't use it, after all the bullying he got at school.
    • Nearly everyone in the Drones Club has a nickname, which makes the most sense for characters like "Tuppy" (Hildebrand) Glossop.
    • In Thank You, Jeeves, "Chuffy" Chuffnell has gone his whole life concealing that his first name is Marmaduke.
    • In one book, Lemuel Gingulphus Trotter goes by his initials, and has refused a knighthood because he could not stand the thought of being "Sir Lemuel". At one point, Bertie and Jeeves unsuccessfully try to blackmail him over this.
  • In White Plume Mountain by Paul Kidd, the tough-as-nails ranger known only as The Justicar is eventually revealed to have been named Evelyn by his birth parents.
  • Mr. Krupp, aka Captain Underpants, is named Benny.
  • In Little Women, Laurie's actual first name is Theodore. That's not bad in itself, but considering that his friends used to call him "Dora", it's not surprising that he went with a variation of his last name, Lawrence.
  • Good Omens: Pepper's full name is Pippin Galadriel Moonchild, a relic from her mother's hippie phase. Don't call her that, though.
  • Harry Potter's Nymphadora Tonks, "who prefers to be known by her surname only" ("So would you if your fool of a mother had called you 'Nymphadora'"). While her mother Andromeda presumably uses this first name, and her father calls her "Dora," everyone else uses Tonks.
    • When asked during an online interview why Tonks doesn't just use her middle name, J.K. Rowling said, "Her middle name is Vulpecula. Its not all that better than Nymphadora, is it?"
  • Robinette Broadhead is the male protagonist of Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga.
  • Terry Pratchett likes this trope.
    • Ermintrude from Nation changes her name to "Daphne" at the first possible opportunity.
    • Pratchett also likes inversions, e.g. Agnes in Discworld and Kirsty in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, both of whom are disappointed by their very ordinary-sounding names and insist on going by others.
    • Moist von Lipwig. He's learned to live with it, though.
    • And his other half, Adora Belle Dearheart.
    • One Man Bucket in Reaper Man. He comes from a tribe where they name you after the first thing your mother sees when you're born, and his full name is One Man Pouring A Bucket Of Water Over Two Dogs. It's his slightly older twin brother you really have to feel sorry for, though.

 Windle Poons: Don't tell me, "Two Dogs Fighting"?

One Man Bucket: Two Dogs Fighting? He'd have given his right arm to be called Two Dogs Fighting.

  • The very end of The Sherwood Ring reveals that Pat Thorn's real first name is one of these -- Peacable, named after his ancestor.
  • The 1632 series features three kids whose parents were hippies, and thus are all named after Tolkien characters (Faramir, Gwaihir and Elrond); their father later sobers up a bit and gives them the pseudonyms of Frank, Gerry and Ron so they don't get beaten up at school.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Colonel Badass Elizabeth Tirelli is always referred to by her nickname Lizard (a pun on 'Liz'), even by her boyfriend.
  • In The Wheel of Time:
    • Tomboy Min Farshaw hates her full name, Elmindreda, which is most notorious as a folklore character who is shallow and flighty -- not to mention very, very girly.
    • Another example is Zarine "Faile" Bashere, who hates her first name because to her it's a name for a woman who reclines on cushions while eating grapes. Her chosen name means Falcon.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Lieutenant Koudelka ("Kou" to his friends) and Miss Droushnakovi ("Drou" to her friends) are embarassed at their wedding when they have to publically admit to their first names, Clement and Ludmilla. (Drou continues to go by her nickname even though she chooses to take her husband's last name)
  • The title character of Yann Martel's Life of Pi is named Piscine Molitor Patel (after a swimming pool in France that his uncle greatly admires). He shortens this to Pi Patel to escape the inevitable schoolyard taunts about "Piscine" sounding like "pissing."
  • Slartibartfast of Hitchhikers Guide. It's not so much embarrassing as just "not important".
  • Witch Week takes place in a world where witchcraft is a serious crime. Dulcinea Pilgrim is a girl who is named after the most famous witch in history, so it's small wonder she goes by "Nan" and has asked the headmistress of her school to keep her real name a secret. Of course, the headmistress forgets....
  • As L.A. Confidential says: "They stick you with a name like "Wendell", you look for an alias"
  • Diana Gabaldon has a few examples:
    • As if "Percy" wasn't silly enough, Lord John's lover/stepbrother in Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade isn't actually named Percival, but Perseverance.
    • In An Echo In The Bone, we meet brothers Herman and Vermin. This trope is speculated upon. A little more excusable given that they are in actuality the sisters Hermione and Ermintrude. And in A Breath Of Snow And Ashes, Roger christens a little girl, who the family name in his honor... Rogerina.
  • In Beyond the Magic Sphere, the main character's name is S.B. Fields. She refuses to tell anyone her real first name, which turns out to be Strawberry.
  • Gratuity "Tip" Tucci in The True Meaning of Smekday. Gratuity's mom wasn't all that bright, and didn't know what the word Gratuity meant.
  • The male lead in David Palmer's Emergence tells the narrator, with a suggestive smirk, "Just call me Adam." She thinks that's pretty cheesy (they're both eleven years old), but doesn't blame him nearly so much after she finds out his parents christened him "Melville Winchester Higginbotham Grosvenor Penobscot-Jones IV."
  • In Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer, the title character changes her name to Hope at the age of 13. She absolutely hated her original name: Tulip.
  • In The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp, Tyke often refers to one teacher using "my real name, the one I hated", without saying what it is. At the very end, we learn it's Theodora.
  • To quote The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, "There was once a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb. And he almost deserved it."
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths: Mild-may-your-suffering-be-at-the-hands-of-the-wicked. (His mother got religion.) He goes by Mildmay.
    • He also mentions knowing a prostitute originally named "Fly-from-fornication-and-blasphemy"; apparently, "Butterfly" went over better with her clients.
    • Corbie apparently isn't too happy about having been named "Gartrett," either.
  • One The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency novel mentions, in passing, a former classmate of Mma Makutsi's, whose parents saddled him with a name meaning "Look out, the police have arrived" in Setswana. Apparently, he tried very hard to get people to call him something else...

 But names, like false allegations, stick, and he had gone through life with this unfortunate burden, reminded of it every time he had to fill out an official form; looking away so that the person examining the form could be given the opportunity to smile, which they all did.

  • In the Inspector Morse detective novels by Colin Dexter, Morse refuses to tell anyone his first name: the closest he comes is when he jokes that it's Inspector. Only in the penultimate book in the series is it revealed that his name is Endeavour.
  • Freakonomics examines the Real Life case study of NYPD officer Loser Lane and (to a lesser extent) his brother Winner. In regards to the former, "Although he never hid his name, people were uncomfortable using it. 'So I have a bunch of names,' he says today, 'from Jimmy to James to whatever they want to call you. But they rarely call you Loser.' Once in a while, he said, 'they throw a French twist on it: ‘Losier.’' To his cop friends he is known as Lou."
    • For added irony, his brother Winner is notable for his impressive criminal record.
  • Lucifer C. Dye is the protagonist of The Fools in Town Are on Our Side by Ross Thomas. He would go by his middle name, but that's "Clarence."
  • Nonopherian Fisk from the Knight and Rogue Series, who's so strictly on a last name basis that his Heterosexual Life Partner has to learn his first name from his sister.
  • Lupe dy Cazaril, the protagonist of The Curse of Chalion. The book has a fantasy setting where naming conventions aren't quite as we know them, but it's clear that "Lupe" is considered embarrassing In-Universe both because we don't learn about it until a hundred pages into the book and because of the other character's reactions when it does come out.
  • In Keys to the Kingdom, the main character's best friends in his new school are called 'Leaf' and 'Branch'. Branch goes by 'Ed' instead.


Live Action TV Edit

  • ICarly: "Fredward" Benson. No wonder he goes by "Freddie".
  • Bill McNeal from News Radio was actually Evelyn William McNeal.
  • Cheers:
    • Late in the show's run, Vera reveals that Norm's first name is Hillary.
    • Carla's boyfriend Eddie's real name is Guy.
  • Night Court:
    • In one episode, Dan Fielding reveals that his real name is Reinhold (the creator of the show was Reinhold Weege.) Also, Fielding is actually his middle name; his real last name is Elmore.
    • When Mac and Quon Li's daughter is born, she wants to name her after the storybook horse Flicka. They make it her middle name after Renee.
  • And in reality shows, one of The Amazing Race 7's co-ed teams is named Meredith and Gretchen. Meredith is the guy.
  • MacGyver always seemed embarrassed by his first name. Even former lovers only ever called him "MacGyver" (his grandfather called him "bud"). In one of the show's final episodes, his first name was revealed to be "Angus", which isn't really all that embarrassing. His embarrassment was probably based on the name originally scripted for him, which was "Stacey".
  • A more infamous example is Kramer on Seinfeld, who went several seasons before finally revealing his first name was Cosmo.
    • Also, Elaine dates a man who shared his name with serial killer, Joel Rifkin. After one too many embarrassing moments, he opts to change it. This leads to his breakup with Elaine as neither likes the other's choices for a new first name.
  • One episode of Kids Incorporated revealed that the character who had previously been known only as "The Kid" was embarrassed by his traditional African first name, Ras'san (Also the actor's first name; with two or three exceptions, every character on the show was The Danza). After a Very Special Episode taught him not to be ashamed of his heritage, everyone started calling him Ras'san. Right up to the end of the episode, after which it was never mentioned again. The guy left the show shortly afterwards.
  • Fox Mulder of The X-Files once told Scully that he made his parents call him Mulder. Interestingly, his middle name is the perfectly normal William. When his parents actually show up, though, they call him Fox -- in fact pretty much everyone but Scully and the Lone Gunmen calls him Fox occasionally, and he never seems to have a problem with it.
  • Doctor McKay of Stargate Atlantis prefers to be adressed by his middle name, Rodney, because his first name is Meredith. Strangely his teammates don't know it; you'd expect that it would've been in his file, unless he had it legally changed. Good luck getting his sister to stop calling him that, though. An Alternate Reality McKay goes a step further and prefers to be called Rod. Then again alternate-Mckay is so goddamn awesome that maybe he goes by Meredith but his reputation precedes him enough for everyone to call him Rod, if you know what I mean.
  • Jesse's real first name on Full House was Hermes. He had it changed in Kindergarten.
  • Inspector Morse's first name was not revealed for some time on the show, because he was embarrassed about it. Even lovers only called him "Morse". His first name was eventually revealed to be Endeavour. This practice has a history with him: one of his college friends from Oxford reveals that his nickname all through school was "Pagan", because he refused to give his Christian name.
  • Boycie in Only Fools and Horses is actually named Aubrey Boyce. Even his wife calls him Boycie.
  • There's an episode of The Wonder Years in which one of the characters is challenged to find out the name of the school psycho. Eventually he discovers the guy's name is Florence. Hence the craziness.
  • Dr. Cox of Scrubs has the first name Perry. This isn't notable (and probably not said) until you know that he hates apparently 'gay' names like Quinn or, well, Perry.
    • His first name is actually revealed to be Percival, for which Perry is short for.
    • Gay Perry? Does that remind anybody of anything?
    • And in the most recent season, Perry's full name is revealed to be Percival Ulysses Cox.
  • Uncle Phil from Mad About You thought he was dying and made the Buchmans promise to name their first son after him. He then revealed that his real first name was "Deuteronomy". He didn't hold them to their promise.
    • When his "dying" proved to be a false alarm, he revealed that his reasoning was sound if a little odd-Deuteronomy is such an unusual name that there would never be any of the confusion in child identification that so plagues the parents who were foolish enough to name their child "Joe".
      • Later they ended up naming their daughter Mabel, which it could be argued was a lateral move at best.
  • Due South's second Ray goes by his middle name; his name is actually Stanley Kowalski. His father "had a thing for Marlon Brando." The themed naming is exacerbated by an ex-wife named Stella.
  • In one episode of Life Support, the character Penne finally gets her revenge on her parents for giving her an awful name by sending them to Germany and getting them arrested under its strict child-naming legislation.
  • On the show Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny reveals Cory's real name in the series finale.

 Mr. Feeny: So, Mr. Matthews...

Cory: You think we've known each other long enough for you to call me Cory?

Mr. Feeny: I think we've known each other long enough for me to call you Cornelius.

Cory: Ssh! Mr. Feeny, come on! Not even Topanga knows that!

    • Another episode showed Feeny knowing the real name of professional wrestler Vader as Leslie (Although it's actually Leon in Real Life...) Amy Matthews also refers to him as Francis at one point, and he doesn't correct her.
  • Myron Lawrence Finkelstein fron Dharma and Greg, who usually goes by his middle name.
  • Adam Klaus in Jonathan Creek turns out to be using a stage name when his older sister Kitty arrives and refers to him exclusively as Chester, not a name with much credibility for a stage illusionist. (Kitty's Scottish accent throws suspicions on Adam's supposed American-ness as well.)
  • Andy (a girl) in Kyle XY, who lets everyone believe that her name is short for Andrea... it's actually short for Andromeda.
  • Lt. Provenza of The Closer has yet to reveal his first name. ("What's your first name?" "Lieutenant.")
    • Peter Falk gave the same answer when asked what Columbo's first name was. (A close-up of a badge seen in the second episode reveals it to be "Frank," though this wasn't clear until the show came out on DVD.)
  • Absolutely Fabulous: Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone.
  • In Friends Chandler's first name is considered embarrassing, though not so embarrassing that he doesn't use it. In one episode, they name one of Phoebe's brother's triplets after him:

 Chandler: So uh, now that little Chandler turned out to be a girl, what are they gonna name her?

Phoebe: They're gonna call her Chandler.

Chandler: That's kind of a masculine name, don't you think?

Phoebe: Works on you.

    • He also has an embarrassing last name:

 Chandler: From now on, I have no first name.

Joey: So - you're just Bing?

Chandler: I have no name.

    • Not to mention his middle name.
      • As per the quote at the top of the page, Ross and Rachel discuss the name of their as-of-yet unborn child. They agree beforehand that if the other person doesn't like the name, for whatever reason, they can "veto" the name. The argument goes on for long enough that eventually Phoebe pipes up with "Is it just me, or is 'Veto' starting to sound really good?"
  • On The Pretender, Dark Action Girl Miss Parker once threatened to shoot someone who was about to reveal her first name (hardly an empty threat). Her first name is unknown to this day, though it might be Angel.
  • Get Smart's Chief unwillingly reveals his first name, Thaddeus, under oath.
  • On Desperate Housewives, Mike and Susan name their son Maynard, after Mike's deceased grandfather. Susan's not happy about this and would have preferred Connor, afraid for what her poor son will have to suffer through in school. They compromise by calling him MJ (the 'J' standing for "James", the name of Mike's other grandfather).
  • All in The Family - Archie's given name is Archibald Bunker.
  • The Vicar of Dibley Geraldine Granger's actual first name is revealed to be Boadecea, although this is inconsistent with the later revelation that her name is actually Geraldine Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chim Chiminey Chim Chiminey Chim Chim Cher-ee Granger.
  • Doc Cochran from Deadwood has the first name of Amos. He won't allow Merrick to print it in the vaccine announcement.
  • Beulah Lisa Wilkes, Will's once-fiancee on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • In The Nanny, C.C. Babcock's real name is Chastity Claire.
  • Dr. Leslie Arzt from Lost
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm has Waldo Brooks -- known as "Dustin" to his friends.
  • Cappie from Greek. We know that his real first name is embarrassing for a long time before we learn what it actually is; eventually it's revealed that his full name is Captain John Paul Jones, thus making Captain his first name.
  • It's hard to tell if the real name of The Kid in the cowboy drama The Young Riders is embarrassing, but we can assume so, given the lengths he goes to to conceal it. After he whispers it to his friend, Teaspoon, who's officiating at his wedding to another of the Riders, Lou (Louise), Teaspoon looks perplexed and aghast before deciding just to go with Kid instead. Must have been bad!
  • Sully in Dr Quinn Medicine Woman goes by his last name all the time. His first name is Byron. Even his dead wife, in her sole appearance in Mike's dream, calls him Sully, although that may be a reflection of how Mike thinks of him.
  • Most of the characters from Are You Being Served. Mr. Humphries's full name is "Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries". Mr. Harman's first name is "Beverly". Mr. Rumbold's first name is "Cuthbert". Mr. Lucas's first name is "Dick", which everyone else seems to find hysterical.
  • In NCIS, Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
  • In Doctor Who, Dorothy Gale McShane prefers going by 'Ace,' possibly because she doesn't think an Action Girl should be called Dorothy.
  • Firefly has fearless transport pilot Hoban. Hoban Washburne, that is, better known as "Wash". As he explains in the Serenity novelization, "Why would anyone call themselves Hoban?" The trope is notably averted by Jayne, who seems manly enough to pull off a name that sounds exactly like "Jane."
  • William Andrew Phillip Bodie, in The Professionals only ever went by the name "Bodie".
  • In Mr Beldevere, the title character's first name is Lyn.
  • In A Touch of Frost, Detective Inspector Frost is known to all and sundry by the obvious nickname of Jack, despite his real name being the normal-sounding William. He prefers it that way.
  • Glee: "And then I thought of the best baby name ever: Drizzle."
  • Baby Sinclare of Dinosaurs is named 'Ah Ah I'm Dying You Idiot' by the Great Elder just before he drops dead. The new Elder decides that 'Baby' is a much better name.
  • In the Korean drama series My Lovely Sam Soon, a major part of the series is devoted to Kim Sam-soon's embarrassment about the name "Sam-soon", which roughly means "Third daughter".
    • Sam-soon isn't weird because of it's meaning. In Korean the meaning of a name doesn't really matter in Korean. Any name with either 'Sam' or 'Soon,' is considered either embarrassing or old-fashion.
  • Samantha Spade acknowledged in Without a Trace that her mother named her after the Maltese Falcon character.
  • We don't know what Angela's real name was on Bones, but she renamned herself as an adult. Judging by her dad's attempt to name her son Staccato Mamba, it had to be rather odd.
  • CSI D.B. Russell-one word: Diebenkorn.

Music Edit

  • The 'Boy named Sue' from the song of the same name (written by Shel Silverstein and Covered Up by Johnny Cash). Of course, it's stated to have just made him into a badass, by making him get mad and fight everyone who called him that. And trying to kill his dad for naming him that.

  "Sue": And if I ever have a son, I'm goinna name him... Bill! Or George! Anything but "Sue"! I still hate that name!


Newspaper Comics Edit

 Caulfield: Then why do you call yourself "Frazz"?

Frazz: Because my first name is Edwin.


Theatre Edit


Video Games Edit

  • The World Ends With You:
    • "Beat"'s true first name, "Daisukenojo", is so stupid, Neku wasn't even able to recognize it as a name when he first heard it (he thought 777 was cursing at Beat). What's especially painful for him is that it's just a more sucky version of the perfectly nice Japanese name "Daisuke". Had his parents just held back the last two kana, they would have saved him a lot of suffering.
    • Resident Manipulative Bastard Mr. Kitaniji counts as well. His first name is Megumi, although an unisex name, is more typically used as a female's name than as a male's. The manga based upon the game goes further, implying that the childhood trauma of being teased for having a girl's name was one of the driving reason behind Kitaniji's ultimate goal.
  • In Fallout 3 there's an NPC soldier who uses the code name "Captain Gallows". No one in the Brotherhood of Steel (not even in the Lyon's Pride ) knows his real name, to the point where there's a large betting pool for whoever finds the name. If the player has a high enough speech skill then they can convince him to reveal that his real name is Irving.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts, if you ask Joshua Graham on the origins of Caesar's Legion he'll mention Caesar's real name: Edward.
  • Nagisa (a male cop) from Battle Arena Toshinden 3 gets teased by Tracy for his girly first name, and he hates it.
  • In Paper Mario, your final partner is a Lakitu who prefers to be called "Spike", but is really named Lakilester.
  • In Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, slow-witted skating burnout Crash's real name is Gaylord Ootbagh. Ouch.
  • In Sin and Punishment, the main male character is named Saki which is a feminine first name.
    • It doesn't help that his styled hair makes him look like a girl.
  • The main protagonist of Tales of Vesperia is named Yuri Lowell. Yes, it's a Russian name (roughly the equivalent of "George"), but still...
    • Many gamers and anime fans are probably familiar with Yuri Lowenthal, and if not that, then Yuri from Dirty Pair would also have desensitized them to the name.
    • And for a certain group, there's Yuri Hyuga. His mother was passing as Russian.
  • The Final Boss of the SNK Crossover fighting game Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is named Goodman. Yes, Goodman. Doesn't that just strike fear into the hearts of men?
    • The male lead is named Yuki, as well. For the record, that is pretty much exclusively feminine.
    • This is coming from SNK, which named one of the most difficult bosses in video gaming... Geese. After a while, you forget how weird it sounds.
  • Emperor Tachyon, the Big Bad from Ratchet and Clank Future Tools of Destruction.

 Ratchet: Your name is Percival?!

  • While it's never really touched on in either the games or the anime (probably because it wasn't an issue in the original Japanese), the male Magma Admin in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire/Emerald has the decidedly feminine name "Tabitha". Similarly, the manga-only Aqua Admin (both Team Magma and Team Aqua have two male admins in the manga as opposed to the one in the games and anime) is named "Amber".
  • Otacon from Metal Gear Solid prefers to be addressed by his nickname, as he claims to dislike his actual name, "Hal". Somehow being named after the supercomputer from 2001: A Space Odyssey is more embarrassing than choosing the abbreviation for "Otaku Convention" as your nickname. Go figure.
    • Ironically, as soon as he becomes romantically attracted to Naomi Hunter in MGS4, he insists that she call him Hal. Which she does.
      • This becomes a huge Tear Jerker when she later dies and then afterwards post-humously leaves an encoded message in which she rather lovingly addresses him and says her final good-byes.
  • Pecker the monkaw from Jak and Daxter. He blames it on the fact that his mother was "very vindictive." You gotta wonder what Pecker did as a baby to make his mother name him that.
  • Samantha "Sam" Pearce of Backyard Sports hates being called "Samantha."
  • Hisui Hearts of Tales of Hearts, whose name is a girl's in Japanese and translates to the equally feminine "Jade". For some reason, Hisui himself is only called out on this passingly (in a sidequest where the revelation of his name tears down a badass bruiser image he'd built), and his predecessor Jade Curtiss in Tales of the Abyss not at all.
  • Boo Hooly in Dragon Quest Heroes Rocket Slime.
  • Halo Wars' title screen text scroll claims:

  Nobody knows the Arbitor's given name is 'Shirley'.

  • In, LA Noire, your partner during the Homicide cases is Rusty Galloway, and hates being called by his real first name, Finbarr.

  "I don't care if you were knocked a bit loopy, you don't call me 'Finbarr.'"


Web Comics Edit

  • In El Goonish Shive, rabid feminist Susan's full name is Tiffany Susan Pompoms.
  • In General Protection Fault, Trudy Trueheart's original name (She had it legally changed) is Moonbeam Gertrude Glowerhausen. (Hippie parents, y'see.) Anyone who learned this information would not live long enough to share it.
  • Roast Beef of Achewood was initially believed to be a girl when he was born, so his parents gave him the name of Cassandra. No wonder he became The Woobie.
  • From Gunnerkrigg Court, George Parley. It's embarrassing because she's a girl.
  • Fox Maharassa in Boy Meets Boy is actually named Kailen. This is also his Berserk Button, as demonstrated here.
  • In a Questionable Content strip, it is revealed Raven's first name is Blodwyn (her parents are Welsh), prompting amused reactions.
  • Richard from Looking for Group doesn't really hide his first name, but he still tries to confuse anyone who'd ask him by concealing it in a hurricane of nicknames. And of course, calling him Dick is just asking for being fwooshed.
  • Riffington (a.k.a Riff) from Sluggy Freelance.
  • Another Gaming Comic brings us "Joe Chaos", who's actual name is Irving. Not so bad. Then we have Dang, who's name eventually turns out to be Davros.
  • In Webcomic/Freakangels, KK's real name is Kolfinnia Kokokoho. Considering that Kolfinnia means winter in some Norse language and Kokokoho means Night Owl in Japanese, it's actually a well intended name. Of course, that dosen't stop KK from being extremely angry at anyone who calls her that.
  • Darklight from The Heroes of Middlecenter uses Darklight to cover up her real name, which is... Daffodil.
  • Blossom from Rhapsodies has the first name of Petronilla. While she doesn't go out of her way to keep it a secret she prefers that it's only known as an initial. There is also Clarence Gage.
  • Marion Mighty from Everyday Heroes used to go by "Marko". These days, his wife just calls him "Em".
  • Although Kestrel from Queen of Wands isn't ashamed of her name, twelve years of public school convince her not to let her friends name their daughter after her.
  • Ash Upton of Misfile whose real first name was Ashley even before the titular Misfile turned him into a girl.
  • The eponymous Hanna of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name doesn't seem to be embarrassed at all by his name, but the question of why he wouldn't go by his middle name to avoid confusion is answered when his full name is revealed to be Hanna Falk Cross.
  • In What's Shakin, the evil fire god's name is Fred. This is lampshaded with the heros saying, "Wow, worst villain name ever!"
  • In SSDD, Tessa's adoptive parents named her "Angel" (ironically); she had it changed when she was an angsty teenager.
  • Nathan from Electric Wonderland almost never goes by his real name for reasons the comic hasn't gone into much detail about. Most people call him, "NJ" (which he once said stood for "NinJa"). Aerynn calls him, "Nate," since she had discovered that to be his real name (his official bio also lists it as such), but he doesn't like being called that either.


Web Original Edit

  • In the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions Sailor Evil's full name is Griselda Ethylene Evil & she didn't want to be known as Sailor Griselda.
  • Anaesthesia "Anna" Grout from Survival of the Fittest. Arguably Dacey Ashcroft, although replace embarrassing with 'too feminine'.
    • V4 character Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova, even though that's just the roughly corresponding Russian name for Elizabeth.
  • Tech Infantry has Andrea Treschi. It's a guy, but he's not too concerned about the name. On the other hand, there's Corporal Tess. Corporal Reichenspurger Tess, whose parents moved from a planet that followed the Asian custom of "family name first" to one that followed the Western custom of "family name last". The bureaucrat processing their paperwork screwed hers up, so she just has everyone call her by her "last" name.
  • The full name of Dr. Poque, the Big Bad of Mega 64, is "Dr. Diarrhea Poque", as revealed at the end of episode 4 of season 2. Derek and Rocko find out much earlier on in the first season's second episode, though the name wasn't actually revealed then. Rocko does comment that it sounds like "some kind of butt disease," however.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series, Yami Bakura's real name is Florence. He hates his name, and it's one reason why he's evil. In one of the Evil Council videos, he has a dream where some of his greatest wishes come true: among them, Florence being voted one of the manliest names ever. (This is the result of a 'Sure Why Not' on Little Kuriboh's part, as Bakura only mentioned that his parents wanted to call him 'Florence,' but the fans just latched onto it.)
  • Joe Hokage in Naruto the Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show. Ordinary compared to other examples on this page, but he still gets mocked for it ("Joekage").
  • Chronicle of the Annoying Quest has Voliostromort Guy. He hates his first name, so only goes by his surname. Voliostromort sounds like a great name for a warlock.

Western Animation Edit

  • On SpongeBob SquarePants, Plankton's first name was revealed to be Sheldon in the episode "Plankton's Army".
  • On Kids Next Door, the episode "Operation: SLUMBER" revealed that Numbuh 86's real name was Fanny. Cue butt jokes.
    • The jokes would have been considerably worse if she'd lived in the UK... which, judging fom her Scottish accent, she probably has.
  • Dr. Drakken of Kim Possible was born Drew Theodore P. Lipsky, as if any one part of that wasn't bad enough on its own.
  • On Gummi Bears, the evil Duke Igthorn's secret first name was... Sigmund. Duke Sigi Igthorn.
  • On Drawn Together, Captain Hero's first name is Leslie.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "A Boy Named Sue", Mandark revealed that his hippy-dippy parents had named him Susan. The title of the episode is itself derived from the song written by Shel Silverstein and sung by Johnny Cash, about a boy who wants to kill his father for naming him Sue.
  • Also on Recess: Tomboy Spinelli's first name is Ashley. This embarrasses her mainly because her sworn enemies are a gang of girls called "The Ashleys".
  • Evil, ambitious Mad Scientist and high school principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth in Clone High. Yes, he is the primary antagonist of the series, and, yah, he's male.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty Emily Dickinson Jones in Duck Dodgers is a subversion; while Dodgers finds it funny, Emily himself insists that the 25th-and-a-half century no longer has gender-specific names and genuinely has no problem with his mother naming him after her favorite poet.
  • While it may have been a reasonable first name when the comic books were first written, the Animated Adaptation of Teen Titans pokes fun at the fact that Beast Boy has the first name... Garfield.
  • In Lilo and Stitch: The Series, it's revealed that Pleakly's first name is... Wendy. While he insists that it means "powerful warrior" on his planet, it still earns him lots of chuckles, and he refuses to go by it unless he has to. Oddly, the anime, while it serves as an Alternate Continuity to most of the Lilo and Stitch canon, kept Pleakly's first name as Wendy.
  • In Phineas and Ferb's Cliptastic Countdown, we find Major Monogram's first name is Francis, much to the amusement of Dr. Doofenshmirtz (who isn't really one to talk, considering his first name is Heinz).
  • Cartoon or comic, Will Vandom of W.I.T.C.H. can NEVER escape her real name. In the comics, it's "Wilhelmina" and in the first episode of the cartoon, it's revealed to be "Wilma". The comics made a recent example when Will flipped out over her relatives calling her baby brother (named William) "Will"... and then, they all started calling her "Wilhelmina" once they found out her real name, much to her displeasure.
  • Although he had always had it since his first appearance in the games, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog portrays Miles "Tails" Prower as "hating" his real name. In the episode in question, "Tails' New Home", not only does Sonic threaten to reveal that to everyone if he didn't bail, it also caused Sonic to realize he had been duped by Robotnik! [1]
    • Sonic also has this. Depending on source his real first name is either Maurice or Nikki. Following with this trope he prefers being called Sonic.
      • In his Archie Comics appearances, Sonic is embarrassingly referred to by his father as "Maurice". It is quickly revealed to be merely his middle name, implying that Sonic's actual birth name is unspeakably worse (Ogilvy).
  • While he never expressed any dislike for his real name, Shaggy almost never went by his real name of Norville Rogers... for some incomprehensible reason.
  • Skunky Beaumont from Doug not only lost his Ghost status after Disney took over, he also got a truly Embarrassing First Name, namely Walter.
    • In fact, most characters in this show should feel more embarrassed about their names than about their skin colors, but probably the only other character to whom this applies would be Skeeter (a.k.a. Mosquito) Valentine.
  • Total Drama World Tour uses this in a Villain Sucks Song:

 "She steals and lies, and she's evil, bros, and her real name isn't Blaineley! It's Mildred!"

  • In Time Squad, we have Buck Tuddrussell, whose first name is Beauregard, as revealed in "Kubla Khan't".
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, one of the few sure ways to get a rise out of perpetually cool Babs Bunny is to refer to her as "Barbara-Anne".
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle's "Fractured Fairy Tales" has a segment about a young girl named Tussinelda Wolfenpinkle, "but she had such lovely gold curls that everybody called her Goldilocks, which was probably just as well."
  • Twister from Rocket Power hates it when people call him by his first name, Maurice.
  • Milhouse Van Houten from The Simpsons, named after RichardMilhousNixon. It was the most unfortunate name Matt Groening could think of for a kid.
    • In the episode where Lisa learns Italian, his middle name is revealed to be Mussolini.
  • In the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Family Appreciation Day", we find that Diamond Tiara's dad is saddled with the name Filthy Rich. He prefers to be called just "Rich", obviously.
  • On Arthur, Binky's real first name is Shelly.


Real Life Edit

  • Topologist RH Bing. He was named after his father Rupert Henry but since he was born in Texas his mother found that name too British so as a compromise named him just RH. After becoming professor at Wisconsin, he marked his name as "R only H only Bing" to emphasize that it's just the letters, and his nameplate came back "Ronly Honly Bing".
    • Comedian Henry Cho has a similar act talking about his (probably fictional) dumbass redneck friend, Jonly Bonly Stewart.
  • A double-shot example for both first and middle name: Astronaut Gus Grissom's real first name was Virgil, but he hated being referred to by that moniker. When being interviewed by NASA publicists for the Cold War space race, they suggested using Grissom's middle name, as the nickname Gus seemed inappropriate for an astronaut. Grissom didn't have a problem with it, but he suggested NASA might not want to refer to one of its American astronauts as 'Ivan'. "Gus it is, then...."
  • Lafayette Ronald Hubbard, better known as L. Ron Hubbard.
  • John Wayne was born 'Marion Robert Morrison', later changed to 'Marion Michael Morrison' when his parents decided to name a later child Robert.
  • Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116. It's pronounced "Albin". You may groan now. The Swedish naming board rejected that name. The parents then tried "A", also pronouced Albin. It was rejected too.
  • There is a phenomenon common in the US, but not unknown elsewhere in the English-speaking world - parents hear a name whose origin and meaning they do not know, and think that it would be "a lovely name for a baby girl." It then becomes popular as a female name - once "everyone" thinks of it as a female name, it rarely, if ever, is used again as a male name. Names that this has happened to include Meredith, Hilary, Shirley, Ashley, Evelyn and Beverly, while Dana, Micah, Logan, Bailey, and Riley are in the process of transition.
    • Stacey, Tracey and Kelly were once boy's names too.
      • Kelly Slater proves sometimes that name is still used.
      • And Tracy Morgan for that name. (Can anyone think of any male Stacys younger than Keach?)
      • Stacy Jones, formerly of Veruca Salt and Letters To Cleo.
    • The chances of this happening skyrocket if the male name ends in "-a" -- seen as a quintessentially female ending. This has wrought havoc with Russian diminutives, e.g. Sasha is a diminutive of either Aleksandr or Aleksandra, yet is only given to girls in the English-speaking world, with boys who are called Sasha presumably being ridiculed. One can only imagine what Sacha Baron Cohen went through in school.
      • And no, he's not related to figure-skater Sasha Cohen.
  • Similarly, there were several Byzantine emperors called Alexis, but Joan Collins' character of Alexis Carrington from the '80's soap Dynasty has meant that few men in English-speaking countries now bear the name.
  • Similarly, the male name Hayden, although it doesn't end in "-a", is now increasingly associated with females thanks to Hayden Panettiere.
    • At least the guys still have Hayden Christensen.
  • Not to forget the daughter of the famous children's television hostess "Xuxa", Sasha. The woman even tried to sue whoever else put the name on their daughters! Didn't work, of course.
  • The really hilarious example is "Andrea", which in the U.S. is almost exclusively a girl's name despite coming from the Greek root for "man".
    • Andrea is also a female name in Spanish-speaking countries. In Italy, source of a great deal of immigration to Argentina, Andrea is a male name. Cue family embarrassment when Italian ancestors came visit Argentinian relatives and learned about the new granddaughter...
  • Names like Carla, Charlotte, etc. (female variants of Charles) also suffer from this.
    • This was also more common before it was possible to accurately predict the gender of the baby before it was born, resulting in parents gearing up to have a daughter and ending up with a son, instead.
  • Meet Landocalrissan Butler. No, he's not a smuggler, or a card player, but he seems to be quite a scoundrel.
  • Vicky Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopalian bishop. He wasn't expected to survive infancy, and his parents were expecting a girl.
  • Ulysses S. Grant's real name was Hiram Ulysses Grant; he was very embarassed by his first name as it made his initials HUG. He was probably relieved when a clerical error at West Point bestowed upon him his more famous moniker.
  • While serving in the air force in WWI, the Canadian diplomat and Prime Minister Lester Bowles Pearson was given the name "Mike" by a flight instructor who had never seen The Wirethought "Lester" wasn't manly enough, a moniker that he was known by for the rest of his life. (It could have been worse. Lester had a brother named Marmaduke.)
  • When Kemal Amin Kasem began working in radio, one of his bosses thought his name sounded too ethnic and had him change it to Casey.
  • Italian actor Nino Manfredi used the diminutive as his stage first name because his real one was Saturnino.
  • Almanzo Wilder, husband of Laura Ingalls Wilder. He explains that his name is a family tradition dating back to the Crusades, in which some ancient Wilder owed his life to an "El Manzoor". Contrary to this trope, though, he used it socially.
    • His older sister, Eliza Jane, also hated her name after an unfortunate incident at school, even telling her niece to call her "E.J."
    • Almanzo does have a lot of nicknames, though: his siblings call him "Mannie" or "'Manzo," and his wife calls him "Manly."
  • Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan's real first name is Lynn. Nolan is his middle name.
  • Not quite an embarrassing first name but the current Mayor of London, Boris Johnson revels in the nickname "Bo Jo" when people feel like shortening his name. As one Tory MP noted "With initials like that, you can't just use them on their own'.
  • In Russia, some too educated parents decided to give their son the name BOCHrVF260602. That is, Biological Object Human, of the family of Voronin-Frolov, born June 26th 2002. The authorities refused to register the name, the legal argument seems to be still going on.
  • Pelham Grenville Wodehouse. He used his initials professionally, and his friends called him "Plum".
  • Clive Staples Lewis also used his initials, and his friends called him "Jack".
  • Children of various celebrities include:
    • Bronx Mowgli (Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz).
    • Kal-El (Nicolas Cage)
    • Pilot Inspektor (Jason Lee and Beth Reisgraf)
    • Denim (Toni Braxton)
    • Hud (John Mellencamp)
    • Tu Morrow (Rob Morrow)
    • Banjo (Rachel Griffiths)
    • Brooklyn (David and Victoria Beckham)
    • Lyric and Zephyr (Robbie Benson)
    • Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson)
    • Audio Science (Shannyn Sossamon and Dallas Clayton)
    • Hopper (Sean Penn and Robin Wright Penn)
    • Moxie Crimefighter (Penn Jillette)
    • Bandit Lee (Lyn-Z and Gerard Way)
    • Moon Unit, Diva Thin Muffin, Dweezil and Ahmet (Frank Zappa). When Dweezil Zappa was born, the hospital refused to put the name "Dweezil" on the birth certificate because they deemed it too embarrassing. When he got older and discovered the name on his birth certificate did not match what he had been called all his life, he went and had his name legally changed to Dweezil.
    • The daughter of Governor Hogg of Texas was given the name Ima. Yep, Ima Hogg. (Rumors that she had a sister named Ura are fictitious: she was an only child.)
  • People who share a namesake with a Hurricane or Cyclone, particularly if the storm in question was really destructive:
  • Gov. Piyush "Bobby" Jindal. Especially after his conversion to Christianity.
  • Apparently, some Puritans in 17th/18th century New England thought naming their daughter Flee-from-Fornication (or just Flee-Fornication) was a good idea. That "brilliant" plan probably got utterly discredited when the daughter was arrested for adultery...One wonders what they thought was lacking with "Chastity"...
    • Names like this were the basis for Omnian names in Discworld, so they usually go by just the first word of it, such as Constable Visit (Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets).
    • Puritans liked qualities as names; it's from those times that we get Chastity, Justice, Charity, and so forth; some of the more cumbersome names (like the inexplicably-popular - at the time - "Sin-Deny") have been relegated to the historical oddities department.
  • Televangelist Marion Gordon Robertson. He goes by "Pat" for a reason.
  • Actress Stirling Gallacher, especially considering the name is usually associated with Stirling Moss, the race-car driver. In Scotland, it's a unisex name, but mainly used for males.
  • Sir James Paul McCartney.
    • You wouldn't think James was all that embarrassing but no fewer than three post-WW 1 British prime ministers have had the same aversion: James Ramsay MacDonald, James Harold Wilson and James Gordon Brown. Another was more enthusiastic, or maybe saw it as the lesser of two evils: Leonard James Callaghan.
  • According to popular myth, the perfectly normal and legitimate Russian first name 'Gherman' (pronounced with a hard 'g', roughly like "Gair-man") cost Soviet spaceman Titov the title of 'the first man in space' -- the myth states that Khrushchev chose Gagarin over Titov despite Titov being more prepared physically, because his name reminded him of The War (which had ended just a decade ago, so memories including his own were still fresh) and because it would be generally wrong from a political point of view.
  • Mr. Brooks, the country singer. It was either Troyal or Garth.
  • Big Daddy, the infamous British wrestler, lesser known by his real name Shirley Crabtree.
  • Stanley Ann Dunham's father (also named Stanley) really wanted a son, so he gave her a boy's name. This proved to be a major source of embarrassment to her, until she finally just started going by Ann when she enrolled at the University of Hawaii. Then she met and married a classmate from Kenya named Barack Hussein Obama (Sr.), and they had a son.
  • Wendell Anderson was the 33rd governor of Minnesota. Everyone called him Wendy.
  • Phuc (pronounced "fook" with the oo as in food) is a fairly common Vietnamese name that causes pronunciation problems in English speaking countries. For those who can't figure it out, an unknowing English speaking person might say fuck. This article talks about people with names such as Phuc, Bich or Ho trying to "whitewash" their name.
  • As mentioned here, a 9-year old New Zealand girl was made a ward of court so that she could change her hated name, "Talulah does the Hula from Hawaii". What she changed it to has not been revealed, but one feels that ANYTHING would have been an improvement. The case also cited other ghastly names that had been used in New Zealand, including Midnight Chardonnay, Number Sixteen Bus Shelter, Violence, and a pair of twins called Benson and Hedges.
  • Chevy Chase was born Cornelius Crane Chase.
  • In a contest, Bethesda claimed they would give free Bethesda games for life to anyone who named their baby Dovahkiin. The baby had to be born on November 11th, 2011 (11/11/11), which was the release date for Skyrim, the game in which Dovahkiin is the protagonist. Someone won.
  • 2012 U.S. Republican presidential candidate, Willard "Mitt" Romney. Though "Mitt" might not be that much better.
    • Ironically, some people thought his full name was "Mittens".
  • Yuri Lowenthal.
  • Sunny's, a member of Girls' Generation, real name is Lee Soon-Kyu. Her group members often make fun of her, or embarrass her by saying her name in public.
    • Although, because of Korean naming order, Soon-Kyu is her last name.

Notes

  1. Sonic had thought they found Tails' missing parents and returned Tails to them. As he's remininsing, he realizes they called him "Tails", not "Miles".

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