Tell Us Dammit: Where Did You Get Your Name?

Tell Us Dammit: Where Did You Get Your Name?
Image: Teefury / Vomaria

Online handles have been for almost as long as the internet has been a thing. Some people flit between nicknames while others end up stuck with one for a long, long time. There’s usually a story behind the name, what’s yours?

I’ve been using TrjnRabbit (and variants thereof) online for over a decade. It’s reached the point where many of my friends, and even my wife, call me “Bun” which is the current stop on the wandering path of nicknames.

For those wondering, the evolution was “Rabbit” to “Bunny” to “Bun Bun” to “Bun”.

My in-laws think it’s a pet name. That amuses me.

Anyhow, TrjnRabbit as a name comes from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I wanted to sign up for some service or another under the name Trojan Rabbit but it was taken. One of the few automatically generated alternatives was TrjnRabbit and I liked the potential confusion a lack of vowels in ‘Trojan’ could cause.

In the years since, it has caused a lot of confusion.

Anyhow, that’s my terribly boring little tale of why I call myself TrjnRabbit. Now it’s your turn.


  • Back in the days of IRC some schoolmates and I moderated the #AliceSprings channel on AustNet. My friend Brad decided one day that he was going to start using B-rad (Be Rad), which I thought was dumb; who says “Rad”?! So I changed mine to B-ob. I’ve been using it ever since, while he lasted about a fortnight from memory (we’re talking 1997 or 8). Some usernames don’t allow for a hyphen, so in those instances I use a badly rendered phonetic of “beeawwb”

    Fun fact I just learned now… “Ob” comes from the Latin for “‘towards, against, in the way of’.” – “Be Against, Be In The Way Of” – fitting given the original purpose.

  • When I signed up here I was watching a lot of Tim and Eric.

    Most places I go by InsanityAwaits, which I took from Red Dwarf when nearly ten years ago I joined Xbox Live and couldn’t use my existing name on the platform.

    I had been watching a lot of Red Dwarf (still love it) and it is when Rimmer is mind patching to join the hologram ship.

    He says “Glory or Insanity Awaits”

  • I got mine playing hockey. I was a goalie, and every time I got hit by a ball, I grunted. Didn’t even realise I did it until a teammate pointed it out after a game. At our clubhouse. In front of ~100 other players…

    Stuck after that, and when I went on to play MMO’s, it became a name that fit a lot of my characters. Its one of many nicknames, but the one I default to online.

  • Fong – A Knight’s Tale, one of the characters is extremely short tempered and prone to violent outbursts, and threatens to “fong” people. Apparently some mates thought I shared some characteristics, so it stuck.

  • I got invited to a local LAN, while I was at uni (tafe) and there was alot of guys with the same, so nicknames were a given.
    Apparently to the Aussies here, I sound Welsh, so they kept referring me to Welshie, despite my attempts to correct them on this…or perhaps they knew that it annoyed me, they kept calling me it and introducing me to everyone and with that, it stuck

  • Mine’s boring, blonde hair turned into Snowy pretty quick in High School.

    I refuse to use more that three “e”s or add numbers to any user name I make, so I often just go with the letter replacement that turns me into Snoxeee.

  • In my earlier days i had a penchant for bright Hawaiian shirts. One Saturday afternoon, i arrive at a friends house wearing a fluorescent yellow shirt. We engage in a highly entertaining afternoon of Tekken Tag Tournament and beer. Unknown to most of the people there, i had spent approximately 6 months of my university life doing not much except playing Tekken.

    After losing (again), my friend searches for a suitable comeback, eventually going with
    “Damn you, you big…..BANANA!” and the name has stuck ever since.

  • My current name…. Back in the days of vanilla WoW, I had one of my friends unexpectedly buy the game and roll on a server I didn’t have any characters on, and I figured I’d go muck around with him until I got bored and then go back to my main… so I threw together a random rogue and called it the first thing that popped into my head – “Miak”, not really caring much about the throwaway character I was making. However the rogue ended up being more fun than my priest and I had a great time with my friend so I had a new main and the name stuck.

    I got the actual word out of a random bit of text that popped up for about 0.5 sec in an animutation video I watched not long before, which said “Got Miak?”. At the time I didn’t know that was itself a reference to Ernest Scared Stupid until someone explained it to me. Apparently Ernest had to answer a question where the answer was Mi_k (clearly “Milk”) but he wrote an A instead of an L.

        • Think I lasted to about lvl 10 before I switched to a mage. Never looked back after that, was fun (by the standards of the day) soloing through to 60 in Winterspring. No way I could have done that with a Priest.

          • When I first started I intended to join the guild my old C&C Renegade community had set up. In deciding which class to play, they kept telling me to be a priest because they don’t actually have to heal at all and that shadow priests “melt faces”. What they didn’t tell me was that no one wants to group with a shadow priest and I would be forced into a healer role sooner or later.

            As such, I would spend entire raids with my screen covered in health bars, staring mostly at those and only responding to alerts telling me to do various things (“like move away from X”, “get out of fire”, etc)… I only started to feel like I was *actually* participating in fights when I started raiding as a rogue.

          • Was lucky there with having the mage to play. There was some variety in the class, with crowd control and DPS being the main ones. Which made me happy after the free range I had in EQ.

            I’d played a bard in EQ, which could be one of the most varied classes in any MMO. In a raid I could be doing any of a half dozen things, depending on who else was there. That was a class that kept you on your toes 🙂 And I was pretty good at it.

            Juggling only a couple of roles in WoW was a holiday after that 🙂 We got to vanilla Naxx right before BC launched. That effectively killed our guild, and my interest died until Legion last year. By that point I’d given the mage away to a friend so restarted as a demon hunter. That was fun.

          • WoW was my first MMO and the one I stuck with for the longest time. I tried a good half-dozen or so other MMOs since but I haven’t been able to stick with them for various reasons. When I left WoW, I kept my rogue’s name and moved on to other things, often going for similar classes/roles wherever I can. I guess it just suits my play style.

            Only problem with this name is it’s apparently quite common and I often have to shove stuff in front of it. I used to call myself “s1elite” (which has its own story attached) so sometimes I go by s1Miak … because I’m getting old and “elite” no longer applies 😉

  • I’ve used BeakerBaby for years. It comes from a high school friend who, when he learned that i was an IVF or test-tube baby, said “he’s too fat – he’d have to be a beaker baby”. I found it cruelly funny and unique enough to embrace, so I’ve stuck with it.

      • Yeah, Futurama was clearly the better show. Groening had a massive fight with Fox about it too, threatened to make the Simpsons shit in retaliation because he wanted to end it and move on to Futurama.

      • Look at it this way: The Simpsons was pretty awesome for the first 8-10 years, as was Futurama. If Futurama were still going, it’d probably be about as bad as The Simpsons… so enjoy the good memories of the episodes that exist?

        • I doubt it would have run as long, but it would have been nice for all the sub-plots to have been tied up.

          For example, it is still unknown/unconfirmed what Nibbler meant when he called Leela “The Other”.

  • I used to go by Chuckles_World™ from the early days of html chatrooms and IRC days.

    That got a bit unwieldy. In 2003 I started planning a cycle tour around Australia on my recumbent tricycle, and so the name Trikeabout was born… The actual Trikeabout cycle tour wound up being 17128km from Melbourne along the south coast, up the Monaro Hwy to Canberra, back to the coast and all the way up to the Daintree, across the Barclay Hwy, up to Kakadu/Darwin, to Broome, Perth, Cape Leeuwin, back across the Nullarbor and arriving back in Melbourne after 10 months of camping and cycling…

    And I’ve used the handle ever since.

  • Mine is actually a portmanteau. It is short for Wisecracking Hacker.

    The later part I took for the old school meaning of computing expert (not the 60s anymore, I know but that is the origin of the word).

    As for the Wisecracking part. Well, let’s just say I’ve been dealing out wise cracks long before I started torturing @weresmurf with Star Trek V references.

  • Playing Quake over a modem some time in the late 90s, I’d found out how to use player skins, and the Batman one was pretty sweet. I couldn’t just call myself Batman, though, cos that would be lame, so I went with Batguy which is totally not lame. No way. So that’s what I went with then, I liked it, and here we are.

  • Used to be short and skinny then got tall but still skinny. Brothers mates joked about how it’s like I just got stretched intead of actually growing and it’s stuck ever since

  • I saw that there wasn’t a minimum character limit and tested this (I’m usually using Gaz). Usually I’m Zaygr, derived from the Vaygr in Homeworld 2.

  • Mine goes back to the days when I used to play quake 2 on dial up with ping of about 300. i would often dominate and rail people in mid air despite my ping, and people would often accuse me of using an aimbot.
    So I was like…. well… bot. But I think it looks stupid with two l’s so I dropped one, and it’s stuck ever since

  • I like RPG’s and when I have the choice I nearly always play defensive builds. I was going to call myself Plus4Defense because 4 is my fav number but I knew I could do 1 better.

  • Battlefield 2142 asked me to enter a name and being the creative dead zone I am I used my Initials CJS but like this C.j.S everyone called me CJ. Ended up in a clan CJ faster then CJS. Was once called Captain Jack Sparrow in a shout cast of a match.

    These days it’s CJS or as close as I can get it to be cause turns out a lot of other people also decided to use my initials the greedy bastards.

    • Occasionally I’ll be called Seige as a way to pronounce CJ. (Also am SecretCorgi due to injoke. But only in PLUNKBAT (PubG))

  • Shamrocks is because Shamrock is always taken. I was way into my heritage (Irish) for a while and it was the only thing that i could think of that was Irish at the time.

  • Mine is basically just the tag I used to spray around as graffiti as a kid. And also as not so much a kid…cos I found the idea of writing Jizm everywhere amusing at the time. The I dropped out because the tag looked better without the vowel. Not very exciting really…

  • Stagyika. I got mine when I first moved to the United States from Tanzania where I grew up. It’s a portmanteau of Tanzania’s original name before it’s union with Zanzibar, and my favourite TV show of my youth.

    Stargate + Tanganyika = Stagyika.

  • Way back in the N64 days I joined my very first forum. It was a Donkey Kong 64 forum, and I needed to choose a username. The moderator there was called “Klobber” which is a Donkey Kong enemy character, and the guy was really popular. I wanted to be like that guy, so I decided that I’d choose a username that was similar and was also a Donkey Kong character, Kritter. The rest is history.

  • Started off as Enix in the early CS days, when Team Fortress came out it turned to Dr Enix, then I slammed them together and Drenix it was.

  • A Jackablade is slang word for a pickpocket in the Looking Glass/Ion Storm Thief games. It’s also a name that’s very rarely taken, so I’ve stuck with it for almost 20 years.

  • I loved playing RPGs, I loved playing wizards/mages in RPG = Wizz
    I think the little puffball “Fizzgig” is the best character in The Dark Crystal = Fizz

    Wizz-Fizz :o)

  • I used to go by ctrlSaltdelete because I had a rubbish laptop and my last name is Salt, but as ‘Salty’ came to imply a bad attitude I switched to Various Horses. It was the name of my favourite song on the album my band released at the time and I never bothered to change it since.

  • Mine was because of a chair in a classroom at my highschool that had been drawn on with a sharpie, but they’d drawn in a checkerboard pattern on the crosshatch grooves. Hence Checkerchairs. Sadly that chair had a tendency to disappear, I always got disappointed when I couldn’t find it. It was always on the top floor, somewhere, but vanished for weeks at a time.

  • True geekness here – mine is from an old campaign of D&D – it means “of the blood of darkness”. I don’t have the heart to tell most people – so I tell them it’s from an old Celtic language instead.

  • I used to ho by JJ2000 or some shit.

    Anyway, I was in hospital for 6 weeks with a blood virus, having my body pumped with antibiotics every half hour… Fun…. I was 14 or 15 at the time I think. Maybe a bit younger. I also have a heart condition, so hospitals where not new to me, but I was board shitless most of the time.

    Lucky for me, mum had a friend whose husband was a gamer too, and I ended up being able to borrow his N64 why I was there. And, along with Mario Karts and a few other games, Zelda: Ocarina Of Time. So, when it came time to pick my name, I decided to try and make one up that sounded like it would fit in to the Zelda-vers. And so Jagji (pronounced Jag G)was what I came up with. I have been using veryations of the name online since, but whats most amazing, is that if you google my ‘made up’ name, you get a guy by the name of Jagjit Singh, who apparently was a iconic musician in India. Also, I am still yet to finish LoZ:OT.

  • I use Skratchynuts mostly, sometimes Skratch or Skratchy. I chose it years ago because who the hell would call themselves Skratchynuts?

  • I was a mad fan of the band Lemonheads (still am). Their first album was through Tanng records….20 years later I’m still rocking that name, and seeing them play (Well it’s pretty much one member left now ;p).

  • I made my own gamertag/name after playing a lot of Starcraft in my teens.

    I loved the Battleships and Commander had a good ring to it and so it came to be.

  • Vapor was the name I used on a Pokémon message board waaaay back when (Like, Gold and Silver hadn’t even come out yet), and was literally the first part of Vaporeon. Can not remember for the life of me why I started using it on Kotaku instead of the normal name I use everywhere else…

  • When I was a wee lad, I quite enjoyed Swat Katz… not the best story, and haven’t been able to come up with a name I like in the near 20 years since.

    John Stalvern comes from the best Doom story, Doom: Repercussions of Evil and boy, do I love Doom/Doomguy.

  • My handle is telstratouchfone. Always get weird looks and questions about it, people think I’m advertising.

    It harks back to the days where Hotmail expired if you didn’t log in enough. Mine had expired and I needed a new email, and couldn’t think of anything. Look around for inspiration and lo and behold on the desk in front of me is…

    A Telstra Touchfone.

    The rest, as they say, is history.

  • Needed a gamertag in the late 90’s. At the time I was reading a book called The Coffin Dancer, sequel to The Bone Collector (which was also a surprisingly good movie!). The character was a badass assassin, and I liked the name… but it was taken. So, I did what any self-respecting 12 year old would do and removed all the vowels – the rest is history.

    I briefly went by The_Jesus for a while after watching The Big Lebowski, but that was pretty much just so I could yell ‘NOBODY FUCKS WITH THE JESUS’.

  • When I was in my early teens I was big into D and D. I rolled a character who ended up being the main protagonist in a never completed fantasy tale that I started writing. His name was Vashkur. That was almost 30yrs ago. Every Game Character that I could name in games both offline or online has had that Moniker. Whilst he never got to have that epic “hero’s journey” I’d originally planned for him, He’s done a lot of other cool things over the years.

  • Bookie was a childhood family nickname (I think because I used to read a lot), and later my brothers and I started a band called the Brothers Gnu, so I was (and am) Bookie Gnu.

  • I first used Pyronius as a name in Ultima Online when I was 14, twenty years ago now. Originally, I used ‘Pyronius Darkhan’, which I felt was a sufficiently fantasy-sounding name, but over the years I used many variants – Pyronius Alpha, Pyronius Omega, Pyronius Rex. I eventually used the name in a fantasy novel I wrote, which wasn’t very good and has since been removed from publication. ;P I finally settled into ThePoetPyronius maybe 10 years ago, after a stint of writing and reading poetry at open mic nights, but I also like the overtones of ‘Apocalypse Now’ in it. 🙂

  • I used to go by CaptWinky ala Ace Ventura (my first name is Richard).

    I changed it many, many years ago to the above with ‘help’ from a mate that may have been taking the mickey i.e. Sainte is the French feminine equivalent of Saint lol. Sounded good in my teen years.

    I usually play female characters in games, so he may have been onto something. I’m a bit of a night owl as well, Jericho is also known as the City of the Moon. So kind of fitting really. Used it for over 15 years now and hadn’t really thought to much on it till this article.

  • So I generally go by two names or variations of them. In the end, they both kind of ended up being my first and last name. The first is Jeuly. This came from me getting a Club Penguin account when I finally met the internet and had horrible spelling (not that it’s improved much now). I was a big fan of the tv show Ben 10 and wanted to identify myself as someone related to that. I had a similar hair cut to his girlfriend, Julie, and thought it’d be a good name. Turned out that Julie isn’t spelt with a ‘eu’ or even a ‘y’. But it was a unique name, not one that was often taken and it just…stuck. The second name is Dragonthoth. This one’s very simple; I needed a bigger online name not long after the Julie incident and used a name generator this time. They asked me for my favourite fictional being (dragons) and my favourite mythical character. Since mythology has always been fascinating to me, upon seeing the Ancient Egyptian god Thoth, I knew it that was it. Also, he’s the god of wisdom, thought to have taught writing to humans. I love writing and am an aspiring writer so…match made in Ma’at? Now, more often I go by the name Jules, a nickname given by one of my brother’s friends.

  • When I started an old job there was already a luke there so of course the guys there had to give me a nickname.
    My last name starts with Chi so for some reason Chachi was born. I hung out a lot with those guys outta work at the time and those friends would call me that in front of other mated and now I pretty much get called that all the time. Even by the missus which is pretty damn strange tbh.

  • Prepare to die of laughter. This is a sad tale.
    I used to own a Dreamcast (not that bit). At one point I needed a handle for the DC telstra chat and having nothing amazing in mind I decided on my name with rockstheworld after it. Because I have no reason or excuse you may laugh now. Unfortunatly I hit the confirm button and I had not fully entered my handle (don’t know if it would have fit anyway).
    I now had glennroc, which meant nothing. In fact it was stupid, but I had chat access, online gaming and dial up 56k internet on console, plus all the 40 year old men pretending to be girls trying to “cyber” me. Who could possibly want more? So I didn’t care and used it to play games too.
    After the DC support died off I still played it but had an original Xbox, I wasn’t bothered with gaming online so much. When I jumped back into online console gaming with the Xbox360 I wanted a new name, something to strike terror into the hearts of my enemies. I had nada, could think of nothing. So while on a map selection page that night (yes it was late, no I don’t take ilicit drugs) right there on my pc monitor I saw ‘random’. “Ha!” I said. It seemed apt seeing as every idiot in my town was saying it to me if I replied to something and they didn’t understand and assumed a subject change in my response (because humanity is no longer evolving quickly enough… #hashtag is the newer proof of this).

    So it became RandomGlenn253.
    Why the 253? Well mostly because I had a holden engine named that, but also because I wanted to see how often I would be asked if there was 252 RandomGlenns already in use.
    There was not. I was asked often.
    So the Random thing was sort of cool. I had made friends out of it and eventually a small clan who all took the prefix of “Random”. None of them asked they just liked that I wasn’t shouty or racist and had an aversion to arguements.
    At first I thought it meant something to them, the handle was never important to them though.
    I was.
    We still talk on facebook.

  • For years, I used “Mao” which is a common shortening for a common name where I came from. I remember I used it in the very first game that asked me to enter a name, LtoZ:ALttP, then after I beat that game, I kept using it in every game and online, because I felt as though “Mao” had already world-saving cache.

    After moving to Australia, where my name is no common at all, and everybody thought that “Mao” was a reference to Chinese communism, I decided to change my handle. I was at the time reading The Regress of the Pilgrim, a very obscure book (not to be confused with The Progress of the Pilgrim) by CS Lewis of Narnia fame, which was very relevant for me back then. Obviously, “Pilgrim” is a common enough word that it was always going to be unavailable anywhere, so I chose to insert a random Y, just for uniqueness.

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