Character names don't always have meaning, right?

When you name your fictional characters, does the meaning tie into the plot somehow or not at all?

Have you ever gave a fictional character a name because it sounds great, but doesn’t have a clear meaning?

Does a character’s name has to have a meaning or not at all?

Thoughts and feelings?



Most of the time, I pick names that sound cool and fit the time period, but then I end up pleasantly surprised by the meaning afterward.

I named my villain Nymandus Blackburne because it sounded nice and villainy. Then I found out it means Orphan Mudwater. :joy:


I just go with whatever name seems to fit their personality, and their surname e.g. Max Rivera, or Igor Valdez, or Trisha McCann.


I’d already chosen the name, but when I later found out what it meant, I added this paragraph to the story.


“Then let me confess my greatest sin first, according to the current monarch. I can’t remember exactly when I knew for certain I wasn’t meant for women, but I do remember the first boy who ever fascinated me. It was Crown Prince Callistus.” Treymor glanced up at the friar. “Callistus. Did you know Callistus means most beautiful, Brother?”

I rarely ever bother looking up name meanings, and I doubt the readers will, either. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯

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Mostly not… In fact, not at all… Though I try to keep names like a regional feeling… For instance in Acoss many names for men begin with O, or W. With many variants of those letters giving lend to soundings that could be either letter.

Every time… I feel that if a collection of letters sounds good to recite, and that if feels somewhat grounded in your Fictional Tale, you should use it. For instance, Brophandis (Bro-Fan Dis) came from modern speak of all those “Broken down words”. Bro, Fan and Dis. But I just used the PH for the F and it became a “Fantasy” name to go with the trope’s and all… Yet if feels grounded within my works…

Not at all, unless you wish to build a deeper reasoning for it… Sometime just adding a Tag to the name carries their meaning.
Again, I called a peaceful Drake Kharystor the Peace Bringer… For Kharystor did indeed bring about peace between the Winter Elves and the Drakes of Undermount. That which lasted many a millennia.

Don’t think too hard upon names, if they sound good, and feel like they belong in your world, use them…


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For the most part I just pick names that sound nice, cool, or fit the character’s vibes. Or fit the setting.

If they happen to have a fitting meaning, that’s cool, but unintentional :joy: For example, just found out Tomas means “twin”. Guess what Tomas and Eila are…

For some fantasy names or surnames, however, I do spend time looking up words or names that fit the character, then mash em up into a new name. Did that for some guardian creatures in OSWaJs like Khiboreas (an ice wyvern) or Xybelios (a lightning dragon). Then there’s times where I intentionally pick a name like Narciso for a flower demon obsessed with beauty.


@NatilladeCoco @JellyGhost @SecretDurham @Akje @Churro

I kinda made this thread, because the characters in my story Project Succession names are some combination of because it was cool or last minute.

Though some are meaningful, but I concern that I am making it obvious when it should be discreet in a way (stupid thing to worry about I know) and it comes off as trying to hard.

Like sometimes it makes sense while other times the meaning isn’t there. For example Mephisto von Thornwood is a trickster, but that isn’t his main thing, but psycho is one of those things that he is. Faust von Thornwood is a prodigy who leaves the family (spoiler tells a different story) to pursue his own goals than to help his psychotic older brother and family.

Mephisto is obviously taken from Mephistopheles, the demon who Faustus was to form some contract with, hence his younger brother Faust.

Hyde is Mephisto’s other younger brother, but Faust’s older brother. He is a kinda play on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, but his son is Jekyll and his granddaughter is Lisselotte.

Hannibal is the father of Mephisto and his siblings, but the grandfather is Mammon, who is one of the seven deadly sins which is greed.

Lilith was just a toss in there and Stephanie even more so, but Lilith will make more sense, but Stephanie is the family’s sorta unfavorite in a way.

You see where I am going with this?


I don’t name based on name meaning. I name based on what sounds right


Maybe you should come up with totally new names that sound evil but have never been used anywhere else before? ヽ(^。^)丿

Or maybe alternate versions of those names you’re already using…

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I don’t think it’s necessary to pin a meaning to the name of a character… If you feel strongly for a character having a name with meaning, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t care if there’s meaning there’s nothing wrong with that either.

I have characters who have meaningful names and I have people who are named because I liked the way their name sounded.

Cabal… he got his name because he was a “Secret” from his father and his mother’s brood. (Obvs a loose interpretation of the word.) Meanwhile Miranda (a character in the same series) has a name that just sounded good. Oh… Renate falls into the category with Cabal… his Vampire name was purposely chosen because it means “Reborn.”

I do tend to get into trends though… I have a lot of characters with M names:

I also use a lot of baby naming sites to help me out. I try to stick with names that fit the culture I want the person to be from (for instance White Out is set in Greenland, so I wanted Icelandic or Inuit names)

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Is it bad that I am using those names in that manner? Not understanding what you mean, sorry.

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No, I meant if it bothers you. It sounded like it bothers you that readers will recognize those names, but if it doesn’t bother you then there’s no need to change them. (=^ェ^=)

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Well, it doesn’t really bother me that much, but readers pick up on the most sublet things that an author is unaware of.

I like the names, I am unmotivated to change the names because they oddly fit.

So, I am keeping the names regardless.

This thread is possibly me worrying about nothing and maybe something.

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The majority of my characters across all stories have never had a name that meant something behind the scenes. Like, I’ve seen some writers try to tie the name in with the theme or some kind of plot point (like a character named after a particular flower that has a massive significance to the plot somehow). That’s not me.

I give names to characters simply became I liked the name or it just sounded okay in the moment. Now, I have used favorite names and names that were inspired by random people in my life, but didn’t have a personality quite the same. I have also used real life names inspired by real life people, with some kind of trait involved. For instance, in a previous story of mine, I made a character named Freyja who was a Gothic YouTuber and she was making a vlog about her time up in the mountains of Colorado. Her character was inspired by a real life Gothic YouTuber who is also named Freyja. Their personalities, though, weren’t entirely the same because… I don’t know real life Freyja. :sweat_smile:

I’ve also made names and given backstories for those names just so people didn’t have to comment on how unrealistic they sounded. Like, I know there’s gonna be someone who’s like, “Why’s your character’s name Nicolas??” I don’t know, Susan. He was named after something his parents saw and liked? Give it a break.

I also like to think of it as naming your character as if they’re your child. Sometimes there’s significance, sometimes there’s not. I was named after some girl my dad knew in elementary/middle school who taught kids Sign Language. My niece, Amelia, was named after Amelia Thermapolis from the Princess Diaries because it’s one of my sister’s favorite movies.


I’m fairly random, but not always. Drink Deep, for example, is all Slavic names.

Vance is named after a high school teacher.

I spend little time thinking about it.


Depends, though, not often. My biggest concern is whether or not this name sounds consistent with the world/characters I have already introduced.

I have one character who’s name ties into both the environment and her arc. Society views her as inherently evil and an outcast, and her name reflects as much. Her surname is “Koter”, which means (close to) “mutt” in german. Her first name is something I made up, but in the fantasy universe the story is set in, it is also the word they use to refer to limbo/death. This is done with special purpose as it has to do with her story and foreshadows certain events to come.

Other characters, though, are named thus because I like the name and think it fits them :).

No. I think so long as one likes the name, then one should not focus on the meaning behind it unless it’s something the author wants to do to add flavor.


Sometimes, the character name pops into my head and if I want to make it have meaning to the plot, I make something up :stuck_out_tongue: Pinti’s name didn’t have any meaning before until I came up with the meaning “sound of rain” and realized how rain is a symbol for perseverance or resilience, and that really sealed Pinti’s core characteristic.

Sometimes I do look for names that will match with the character. The lion girl, Sovanna’s story uses ancient Cambodia for inspiration for the setting, so I looked for Khmer names. Sovanna is an actual real name meaning “golden” or “dream”. The dream part, doesn’t mean so much in the story, but the golden part relates to her ability to call on the sun. She has solar magick.

As for names tying into the plot, yes, for the Chief Guardian of Elgana, his name ties into the plot. So does his wife’s name. And the official title for their child (not the name. The name was off the top of my head). I actively searched for words to turn them into names. Quite difficult and headache-inducing but kinda fun :wink:

Already answered this, yep. The same goes with Scotch, Cypur, Kaiver, Veiro, and many other Elgana characters, including the clan names of the Kattaluna race.

The meaning is for the writer and for the fans who wish to know :wink: So, nope. Doesn’t have to have meaning. It’s just fun. At least, that’s what I think.