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"My name is Urblad Rotgut."

"That's your problem."

A compound surname that implies something like an action or an attribute (in the form of something like "Nounverber", "Adjectiveverber", "Nounnouner", etc.), but the name has no logical reason for it given in the story. It's just there for Rule of Cool.

This was very rarely done in Real Life. Such names were actually epithets given to people for notable things, as in there was a reason. Scandinavian kings often acquired cool epithets during their reigns. Their actual surnames were of the patronymic variety (like Gunnarson, meaning "Son of Gunnar"). But their real surnames were often eclipsed by their epithets in posterity.

So in fiction, a guy could be called Olaf Skullcrusher, it's treated as though that's a normal surname. In reality, if a king was called Olaf Skullcrusher, it was because he was literally known for crushing skulls in battle. Now later on, that name might ascend to a surname, but fiction rarely gives such justification.

So again, if the name is based on an actual action or attribute of a character, or at least his/her descendants, it's not this trope.

It should also be noted that some names look like this, but are actually mistranslations or corruptions of non-English names; Weatherwax is probably a corruption of a similar-sounding Dutch name[1], and the name Poundmaker is a perfectly normal Cree Indian name. Interestingly, first names of that nature are common in Indo-European languages — Sophocles means "famed for wisdom", for example, and Alfred is something like "counsel of elves[2].

A Sub-Trope of Awesome McCoolname. See also Adjective Noun Fred.

The equivalent in Comic Books is Something Person and The Adjectival Superhero.

Not to be confused with Noun Verber.

Examples of Luke Nounverber include:

Anime and Manga

  • Tyranno Hassleberry of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, who (it might be assumed) hassled a lot of berries.
  • The wizard Slayn Starseeker from Record of Lodoss War, though his surname was only mentioned in the novel and manga.
  • Gene Starwind of Outlaw Star.
  • Star Blazers has Derek Wildstar.
    • Derek and Alex Wildstar are originally Kodai Susumu and Mamoru - common names meaning "(to go) forward" and "to protect".
  • Gray Fullbuster and Erza Knightwalker from Fairy Tail.

Card Games


  • Named for Luke Skywalker (a noun and verb compound).
    • His Mauve Shirt friend Biggs Darklighter - survived by relatives with the same last name - makes only a little more sense, if you assume that some ancestor was really good at lighting dark places.
    • It refers to his skill as a pilot.
    • Tatooine seems to have a thing about this; a Star Wars Expanded Universe character named Falynn Sandskimmer also becomes a skilled pilot. And resented Luke.
      • Actually easily explained by its port-in-the-middle-of-nowhere status. Local single motherhood rates would be predictably through the roof, provincial mores would frown upon a fatherless kid, and a child carrying his maternal family's surname in such a sparsely-populated area would suffer from his own name being a constant reminder of said stigma to everyone. Hence, local teenage mums would invent suitably heroic surnames for their suitably heroic and conveniently called-to-duty or killed in action imaginary husbands and pass these on to their kids. That said, at the 2010 Star Wars convention, Celebration V, George Lucas said while answering fan questions that Skywalker was actually not an especially rare name. As he put it, "there's even the Skywalker wine."
      • Another from the Expanded Universe Tatooine: Cole Fardreamer.
        • Not from Tatooine, but the EU also has Keyan Farlander.
    • In the Episode 1 Novelization, an old spacer compliments Anakin Skywalker on his piloting skill and the appropriateness of his name--saying he "walks the sky like he owns it".
    • Luke's last name was originally going to be Starkiller. It made an appearance in Knights of the Old Republic as the name of a Mandalorian gladiator who only fought death matches.
      • It's also the codename of Galen Marek, Darth Vader's secret apprentice who appears in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.
      • The official site stated that the first Jedi carried the title 'Skywalker'.
    • Four thousand years before that - about forty years before the setting of KotOR the game - we had Nomi Sunrider. Since 'Sunrider' was also a name being used by either a type of top used in Jeeps or some kind of medical company (although why either of these companies would care about the name of a comic book character is anyone's guess), there was legal wrestling, and now the character's last name is under restriction for use in Star Wars media. Bastila from the first Knights of the Old Republic was originally meant to have her role filled by Vima Sunrider, but this was changed due to the controversy, although she is mentioned once by name in-game. Lucas Licensing still can't use "Sunrider" in the name of a work or in an action figure/collectible, but fortunately there is an upcoming novel about the character that will talk about her by name.
    • One of Loki's titles is Loki Skywalker. Take it however you want.


  • On the Discworld, many dwarf names fit the trope, presumably as a direct pastiche of Oakenshield. Wyrd Sisters and Guards! Guards! both suggest that expat dwarfs in Ankh-Morpork make up (allegedly) imposing names like "Timkin Rumbleguts" as posturing.
    • Better example: the late Grag Hamcrusher in Thud. I guess he crushed a lot of hams in his day. (It is worth noting, though, that "ham" also refers to a part of the thigh.)
    • On the other hand, there are also dwarfs with last names like "Snoriscousin" or "Glodssonssonsson".
      • There are also a few humans who picked this kind of name to trick people into thinking they were dwarfs, sometimes for business reasons (People thought dwarf-made was better, so why argue?).
  • Mario Greymist in Dragaera averts this - it's an epithet, bestowed either because of the number of people he "sent to Greymist Valley" (i.e., killed) or because he used a gray mist to facilitate his most famous assassination, depending on whether you believe Vlad Taltos or Paarfi.
  • Ravenclaw house in Harry Potter counts, since Rowena Ravenclaw was its founder.
    • And so is Gryffindor (stylized French for "golden griffin").
    • Luna Lovegood combines this with Stellar Name. And then there's her dad Xenophilius.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has few true examples out of the huge cast. There are lots and lots of epithets though: soldiers in the Malazan army are generally known by their nicknames (e.g. Mudslinger and Throatslitter) and some characters have heroic epithets attached to their name (e.g. Dujek Onearm, Scabandari Bloodeye).
  • There's an Arys Oakheart in A Song of Ice and Fire. In fact, many of the Houses in that series seem to take their names from this convention.
  • Some versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy briefly discuss the temporal/literary theories of one Dr. Dan Streetmentioner.
  • A Giant in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has a double-barreled version of this trope: Saltheart Foamfollower. Guess how the Land's giants are different. There's also Kevin Landwaster and Berek Halfhand. Most of these do follow the epithet rule, however.
    • We meet some more Giants in the second trilogy and most of them have names like Cable Seadreamer (which is probably a poetical nickname) and Grimmand Honninscrave (which probably isn't: how exactly do you crave an honnin?)
  • This trope was mentioned in the Crowning Moment Of Tolerability of Paolini's Inheritance Cycle: The Hero has a flaming sword called 'Fire' in a foreign language. Angela the quirky witch complains that he should have just called his sword 'Burningblade' and be done with it if he wasn't going to be creative.
    • Also, Eragon Shadeslayer. And his million other names that he uses in Brisingr.
  • Justified in Edward Rutherford's multigenerational period fiction, where he deconstructs the origins of names like "Barnikal" (from "bairn-ne-kill", a Viking raider's plea for his comrades to spare the lives of children) and "Silversleaves".
  • Keith Laumer used some similar names in his Retief stories, usually for incompetent and/or corrupt ambassadors (Hidebinder) and occasionally members of their staff (Colonel Underknuckle), but on one occasion a very shapely young woman was superbly designated "Miss Braswell."
  • Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books use this for some of their mages, the ones who choose their names after they become certified. You can measure the size of the mage's ego (good or bad) by how sentimental their name is — compare Niklaren Goldeye the seer and Yarrun Firetamer the, er, firetamer to Olennika Potcracker the cook and Ishabal Ladyhammer the war-mage.
  • Tons of the minor vermin characters in the Redwall books are named like this — Ragear, Mangefur, Blacktooth, Wormtail.
  • In David Edding's "Belgariad" series, many of the Alorn Kings of centuries past had their surnames granted to them upon reaching adulthood, such as Cherek Bearshoulders and his sons. Some, like Uvar Bent-beak, were given their names because of physical characteristics.
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Great Stone Face" (about the real natural formation that bears the same nickname) included a character named Ichabod Pigsnort. Hawthorne was rather fond of creative naming.
  • In His Dark Materials, Lyra Belacqua/Silvertongue is an example. The name "Silvertongue" is given to her towards the end of the first book, due to having successfully convinced armor-wearing bear king Iofur Raknison that she was Iorek Byrnison's daemon, causing him not to die before he can get back to Svalbard and reclaim his throne. Her original surname "Belacqua" is never heard again for the rest of the series.
    • A very impressive feat on her part (the Armored Bears are supposed to have a perfect sense for detecting lies), well deserving of the honorific
  • Sturm Brightblade from the Dragonlance novels. His son is lumbered with the name Steel Brightblade by his mother, Kitiara, who thought it was hilarious. Kender also seem to have names like this, most notably Tasslehoff Burrfoot.
  • From the Hank The Cowdog books, we get the coyote Chief "Many-Rabbit-Gut-Eat-In-Full-Moon". And his daughter, "Girl-Who-Drinks-Blood". Not exactly surnames, though.
  • In the Thraxas series, some sorcerers have names like these. While Glixius Dragon Killer may well have offed a dragon or two, it's well known that Tirini Snake Smiter has never smitten a snake in her life.

Live Action TV

Tabletop Games

  • This is one of many different odd naming styles used for characters in the tabletop RPG Exalted. A lot of Linowan use this style, as does the Dawn Caste pirate Moray Darktide.
  • In Forgotten Realms it's rather common: there's Dornal Silverhand (father of the Seven Sisters) and Florin Falconhand (Dove's husband), Rowanmantle and Wyvernspur (Cormyrean noble houses), and so on and on.
  • Tabletop fantasy games have two well known subsets of this rule: The AxeBeard Law states that all dwarves MUST have some reference to either axes or beards in their name, and The PineSol Law states all elves must have a reference to a plant or celestial body somewhere in their name.
    • Taken to the logical conclusion with the dwarven martial artist Fistbeard Beardfist.
  • In Warhammer 40000 and Warhammer Orcs/Orks always follow this trope. Justified in that they wouldn't normally have surnames, what with having no families and all, and that such names are more common for higher rank orcs and are clearly supposed to be nicknames and honorifics. They are usually violence or food related (or both). Dwarfchewer being a fine example.
    • Also done by the Tau. A Tau's given name will be (in order) their caste, their rank, their world of birth, followed by any personal names they might have earned. As a Tau's career advances, one or more noun-verb titles are added to their name. However, for brevity's sake, Tau will often answer to a single well-known name instead of their full formal name. For example, Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr ("Fire Caste-General Hot-Blooded Farsighted Skillful Battle-proven") is more commonly known as O'Shovah or Commander Farsight.
  • Magic: The Gathering had this as a major feature, especially in the Lorwyn and Shadowmoor expansions. Amusing examples include Thistledown Duo, Thunderblust, Ghastlord of Fugue, Stenchskipper, Soulbright Flamekin, and Kithkin Daggerdare
  • Several Dungeons and Dragons supplements have tables for randomly generated Nounverber names in the languages of various races.

Video Games

  • The Warcraft Universe has beaten this trope to death. For starters, Cairne (and Baine) Bloodhoof, Illidan (and Malfurion) Stormrage, Sylvanas (and Alleria and Vereesa) Windrunner, Magni (and Bran and Muradin) Bronzebeard, Alastair Bentstaff, Gann Stonespire and Melgromm Highmountain. Most of the Loads and Loads of Characters in the series, significant or incidental, have this. It seems likely that the developers used some sort of random name generator, feeding it with words like "Rage," "Fire," or "Blood." Rage is the most overused name-element. Ragefire Chasm, Ragetotem, Stormrage, Bloodrage, even just the "rage" used by the Warrior class, are some examples.
    • Everyone in Wrath of the Lich King is some variant of Mary Chillydeath or Frank Zombiesnow.
      • More-so, the class introduced in Wrath of the Lich King, the "Death Knight" whose summoned zombie companions actually poke fun at this, with names like: "Corpsecruncher" "Rotripper" it actually uses a random combination list.
        • The Death Knight ghoul names are actually very entertaining. This Troper has seen ghouls with names like "Glacierstealer" and other completely ridiculous combinations before.
        • It's even better on cross-language European servers, where you can suddenly see a ghoul named "Sch{alt:0228}delbrecher" clobbering on you.
    • The overwhelming majority of Night Elf NPCs have combinations of "Moon," "Silver," "Bow," "Breeze," "Runner," "Star," and others, while Blood Elves and High Elves have similar ones, but more uses of "Sun," "Dawn," and "Fire" than their nocturnal counterparts.
    • Grom Hellscream might be a good explanation of how this sort of thing gets started. His son is named Garrosh Hellscream, and is often specifically called "son of Hellscream." This is because Grom got his name for a very, very, VERY good reason.
  • In Fate and its sequels, every quest monster and uniquely-enchanted item has a randomly-generated name and/or title.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has Khelgar Ironfist (of the Ironfist clan) and Grobnar Gnomehands, both party members.
    • Notable particularly because Grobnar is a gnome. What other sort of hand is he supposed to have?
      • Grobnar actually makes that joke when you first meet him.
  • Korgan Bloodaxe is an evil dwarf from Baldur's Gate 2. The game goes so far as to tell you there's an actual clan Bloodaxe.
    • The game also has one example a realistic usage of it: Jan Jansen's (alleged) uncle Uriah Twin-Hammers. The surname was an epithet earned because he, well, used a warhammer a lot. The "twin" part was because of his, um, *other* 'hammer' (The hammer was his penis).
      • This is likely in reference to the Tommy Two-Gun joke in Unforgiven.
  • In Age of Mythology, every hersir unit has a name given to it, all of them in this style. 'Biscuitchiller' and 'Refreshingbeveragemaker' were among the more amusing possibilities.
    • There is also the particularly cool name of 'Surtr Firesword', however, there's a reason for that - Surtr is a Norse mythological character which is a giant wielding a flaming sword, who's flames he will bring forth during the Ragnarok will engulf the earth.
  • Names in Dwarf Fortress follow this trope to the letter; every name, be it for a person, place, or thing, is generated randomly from a list of words, and like the example above can be amusingly irreverent, like Urist Diamondpants. Compare Boatmurdered, also a case of Names to Run Away From Really Fast. (And Places To Run Away From Really Fast, considering it features "Project Fuck The World", which unleashes a stream of magma upon any goblins foolhardy enough to lay siege.)
    • "Urist" is the dwarven word for "dagger." Thus names are very noun-noun verbnoun-y. For giggles: "Om nom nom nom" translates to "Clutter the god of godly gods."
  • The MMORPG Wizard 101 practically enforces this trope, as players must choose parts of their character's names from a set of lists rather than inputting them directly. However, you can choose "(none)" on at least one of them.
  • In Might and Magic VIII, the dragon leader is called Deftclaw Redreaver.
  • As said above, Ork names in Dawn of War II.
  • Warhammer Online has mostly "normal" names, although very Germanic, for the Empire NPCs. For Chaos and all the non-human races, this trope applies. For example, "Garik Bludfist", "Kargesh Fellgaze", "Bjorn Warpmask", "N'rarch Fleshreaper", "Vaardek Skullsplitter", "Alaric Grimstone" and "Brok Boarsmasha". No surprise that player characters who purchase a last name tend to either choose "NounVerber", "AdjectiveNoun" or a pop-culture reference.
  • In RuneScape the entire Gorajo tribe has names belonging to this trope. Members of the Gorajo tribe don't have personal names and instead call themselves by their rank (Cub, Little, Naive, Keen, Brave, Brah, Naabe, Wise, Adept or Sachem) and role within the tribe. Players can summon Bloodragers (melee warriors), Deathslingers (ranged fighters), Stormbringers (magic users), Skinweavers (healers), Worldbearers (item carriers) and Hoardstalkers (foragers) to help them in a dungeon.
  • Skyrim has some in its opening theme—"Alduin, bane of kings, ancient shadow unbound." Every dragon's name is a three word epithet; "Alduin" means "destroy-consume-lord" (he was made by Akatosh to destroy the world at the end of time, hence his other major title, the World-Eater).
    • In addition, numerous Nords in The Elder Scrolls universe have names like this (Ulfric Stormcloak, Brunwulf Free-Winter, Torsten Cruel-Sea, Galmar Stone-Fist, Hajvarr Iron-Hand, etc.)


  • Of the six main characters in Order of the Stick, only four have revealed their last names, and all are compounds: Roy Greenhilt, Haley Starshine, Belkar Bitterleaf and Durkon Thundershield.
    • The Greenhilt clan has some justification, as Roy says they were named for that sword.
    • Durkon is a cleric of Thor, and uses a shield, so it's quite fitting, though that'll have to mean his entire family fits the same description as well.
      • Which isn't hard to believe, since in Dungeons & Dragons dwarves are known for their strong family traditions
      • That's assuming it isn't an honorific gained from being a cleric of Thor and using a shield. Or from, say, using his clerical abilities to electrify a shield and hitting someone with it.
        • Then again, Durkon was kicked out of his clan at one point. It's entirely possible that he earned the name himself!
    • And then there are supporting characters Hilgya Firehelm, Leeky Windstaff, Reegon Mithrilspear, Hiran Sinkeye, Clang Killitchy, Deergar Bluehawk, Firuk Blackore...
      • Girard Draketooth used to be be and example of this trope, until it was revealed that he was descendant from a black dragon. Oh Crap.
    • Finally, Redcloak. Given that he wears a red cloak (and Xykon threatened to kill him if his name proved too difficult to remember) it makes sense.
  • Doctor Raven Darktalon... Blood (admittedly a parody and a minor character)
    • When the Penny Arcade team started playing Dungeons and Dragons, Gabe named his character Jim Darkmagic (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics). Scott Kurtz's response was "Jim Darkmagic? Why don't you just name him Chet Awesomelaser?" Considering Scott Kurtz was playing a character named Binwin Bronzebottom... In all fairness Scott Kurtz was playing a dwarf. You actually lose game abilities if your dwarf isn't a Luke Nounverber.
  • Lance Swordfighter from Gold Coin Comics
  • In the Star Wars parody webcomic Diary of a Crazed Mimbanite, the Parody Names for Luke Skywalker was Cliff Nerfherder (a reference to an insult applied to Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back).

Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, the Amerind side character Stormwolf is Adam Ironknife. But the main character Heyoka, who is a Lakota Indian, is merely Jamie Carson.
  • Pastiched by Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation review of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, in which Yahtzee, in an effort to test out the game's cuss word filter, names his character "Gareth Gobelcoque."
  • Homestar Runner's Lem and Bev Sportsinterviews and Senor Havingalittletrouble.
  • Tales of MU's elves take epithet names that are often in this form, but are disappointed that Jamie Bowman, a quarter-elf raised in human society, does not have any archery skill.
    • Dwarves in the same have clan names that are either of the "Oakenshield" variety or are Dwarvish equivalents like "Sternbauer".
  • In Star Wars tradition, The Gungan Council has this appearing frequently: Skywalker, Starkiller, Darkhold, Sunfell, Ravenclaw, Holdfast, Shadowdragon, Hawkmoon, Skylark, Darksun, Eventide, and many more.

Western Animation

  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers has Gadget Hackwrench. In this case, the verb part of the surname is "hack". Very fitting, considering she's frequently hacking around with hardware.
  • Parodied in Eek the Cat with "Leek Bottomsitter".
  • Tale Spin's Kit Cloudkicker.
    • A name that, for all we know, he came up with himself. Anyway it's appropriate since he is known for "air surfing".
  • In one of Brendon's movies in Home Movies, he plays a character named "the Landstander".
  • The Tom and Jerry movie includes a "Dr. Applecheek" and a lawyer simply named "Lickboot."
  • Many Transformers have names like this that line up with their abilities, such as Thundercracker, Trailblazer, and Mixmaster.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, when Lisa tries becoming a Goth, she changes her name to "Ravencrow Neversmiles".


  • Odin and Loki have an obscene amount of these titles, usually in reference to how untrustworthy they are, like "Oathbreaker" and "Liesmith".
    • Also more positive ones like All-Father or Skywalker.
  • It's not limited to English. Greek Mythology has plenty such names. For example, Zeus Cloud-Gatherer, Zeus Aegiduchos (Aegis Bearer) & Zeus Meilichios (Easy-to-be-entreated).
    • Also Aphrodite Androphonos (man-killer), and Aphrodite Kallipagos (sexy butt.) (Yes, really.)
    • And more modern occultists have given some extra names for Pan; Pan Pangenitor Panphage - Pan All-Maker All-Destroyer. Unfortunately the historical deity's name probably wasn't synonymous with the word "pan" - "all".
      • The god Pan's name comes from the same root as the word "panic." Because his domain is temporary insanity.
    • Some are just like this in general; Heracles, for example, means "Glory of Hera." Ironic, given how much Hera despised him.
  • Same goes for Egyptian mythology; for example, Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning "Bull of his mother".
  • All Navajo names are verbs, including those of many of their gods. Coyote, for instance, is known as "Wanderer" and "Scolder"; the former, maii, is the usual word for coyotes in general. Monster Killer, one of the two twin war-gods, is more technically Killer of Hostile Gods.[3] And the de facto head of their pantheon has titles including White Body of the Fourth World and Maternal Grandfather of the Gods, but is usually just called Talking God.
    • Many Navajo rituals involve litanies of divine epithets. During their war-chant, for instance, Monster Killer is invoked with titles like Child of Changing Woman, Full-Grown in a Single Day, Reared Within the Earth, Wearer of Hard Flint Armor, Slayer of Bears, and dozens of others.

Real Life

  • Quite a few actual family names conform to this pattern, for instance:
    • Armstrong (there is a clan legend about what feat by an ancestor is was commemorated in that name).
    • Cartwright, Goldsmith, Shoemaker, Wainwright and other names indicating specialized craftsmen.
    • Eisenhower - from "Eisenhauer" (iron-hewer) is a German version of this.
    • Shakespeare - "spear-shaker". There also was Nicholas Breakspear, later Pope Adrian IV.
    • Turn(e)bull, according to the more popular theory William of Rule got that name for saving Robert the Bruce from a bull.
    • As graciously pointed out by Family Guy, Hancock could be considered this, though the actual meaning is nothing out of the ordinary.
    • Kicklighter, an Americanization of the German surname Kückleiter (lit. "chicken ladder"), sounds like the name of someone you'd run into at Tosche Station while shopping for power converters.
    • In a somewhat convoluted way, the surname Bump, according to genealogical legend, was formed this way. Bump is a form of the French surname Bumpas, which was allegedly given to a servant of a noble after making a harrowing and speedy journey through a battle to deliver a message (the messenger is said to have had a bon pas, or a good pace).
  • There was an Austrialian Soccer player in the early twentieth century whose last name was Conquest. Then you learn his first name was Norman. He was named after a period of history.
  1. Except that there's no Holland on the Disc for her name to come from.
  2. NOT a Council of Elves; that's from The Lord of the Rings
  3. Strictly speaking, "he kills hostile gods", but Navajo uses frequentive aspect for an agentive.