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A Bulbasaur being nicknamed "Bulbagarden" in Pokémon Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire

A nickname (Japanese: ニックネーム nickname) is a name given to a Pokémon by its Trainer. Every time a player catches, hatches, or is given a new Pokémon in a core series game, they are able to nickname the Pokémon. The exception is Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, where a Pokémon can be nicknamed from the menu at any time rather than being prompted to name the Pokémon when it is caught. The nickname can be a maximum of six characters in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese and twelve characters in Western languages (five and ten, respectively, prior to Generation VI). In addition to the games, nicknamed Pokémon have also been shown in the Pokémon anime and several manga series. While not absolutely necessary, nicknames serve as a means of personalizing one's Pokémon, and distinguishing them from other individuals of the same species, or simply a cute name to call the Pokémon that their Trainer prefers.

In the games

In all core series games except Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, players are given the option to nickname their Pokémon immediately after obtaining them: upon catching a Pokémon, receiving a Pokémon as a gift from an NPC, hatching a Pokémon from an Egg. In these games, a Pokémon's Original Trainer can take it to the Name Rater to given it a nickname or have its nickname changed. In Generation VIII, the Name Rater can give a nickname to any unnicknamed Pokémon, even outsider Pokémon, as long as the Pokémon name is in the same language as the current Trainer's game language and it was not met in a fateful encounter.

In Generation V and VII, tapping the Pokémon's sprite on the nickname screen replaces the currently entered text with the Pokémon's species name. In Generation VI, this replaces the currently entered text with the Pokémon's current nickname, or its species name if it has not been nicknamed.

In Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Let's Go, Eevee!, a Pokémon can be given a nickname or have its nickname changed at any time on its status screen.

Limits on nicknames

Comparison of the same English Mewtwo in Japanese and English Generation III games

In Generation I to V, nicknames have a maximum length of 10 characters in Western languages and 5 characters in Japanese and Korean. Starting in Generation VI, nicknames have a maximum length of 12 characters in Western languages and 6 characters in Japanese and Korean.

These characters are in turn limited by the character palette of the game's text entry system, which varies between game languages. The characters available have expanded over the generations: for example, numbers were not available to be added to nicknames in Generation I, while later generations allow them. Originally, Pokémon games always used a proprietary text encoding system; however, games released on the Nintendo Switch or mobile use that system's native text-entry system.

In Generation I, a name consisting of only spaces can be used. In subsequent generations, this is treated as exiting without entering a nickname: a newly obtained Pokémon will use its species name, and a Pokémon at the Name Rater will keep its current name.

Pokémon can only have their nickname changed by their Original Trainer; if an outsider Pokémon cannot be moved to its original Trainer's game, it cannot be renamed at all. If an outsider Pokémon is taken to a Name Rater, he will say the name is "perfect" and refuse to change it. The game checks the Original Trainer name, gender (Generation V onward), Trainer ID number, and Secret ID (Generation III onward). The only exception is Generation IV, in which only the Trainer ID is checked. In Generation VIII, outsider Pokémon with a matching language that do not already have a nickname can be given one (as long as they were not met in a fateful encounter), but once given a nickname it cannot be changed except by its Original Trainer.

In the Generation III games, a Pokémon named in a Western game traded to a Japanese game will have its name rendered in fullwidth characters, making it impossible to display the full name if it is longer than five characters.

In the 1.0 release of the English versions of Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, the nickname flag of Japanese Pokémon is not set when they evolve, so the Pokémon's species name will be adjusted accordingly (e.g. Pichu's Japanese species name is ピチュー and the player nicknames it PICHU, then trades it to an English version and evolves it, causing its name to become PIKACHU). However, since the English games still render the name in the Japanese font, an evolved Japanese Pokémon that has a name longer than five characters will cause a crash while attempting to load the Pokémon List or send it out to battle (in the aforementioned case, the game will try to render it as PIKACHU instead of PIKACHU). This was fixed in the 1.1 release by adding an additional check to the name function used during evolution so that the Japanese Pokémon's name is not altered, effectively treating it as if it were a nickname. The European releases and subsequent Generation III games also have this check.

In Generation IV to VII, non-nicknamed Pokémon with a language of origin different to their current game will update their name to their current game's language upon evolution. In Generation VIII, the evolved species name of the original language is used instead.

In Pokémon Colosseum and Pokémon XD, a Shadow Pokémon cannot be nicknamed if it has not been purified. Immediately after this happens, the option will be given. Wild Pokémon caught from a Poké Spot in Pokémon XD can be nicknamed as they are normally in the core series.

From Generation V onward, the game will recognize when a nickname contains inappropriate text, and will not allow the player to use this as a nickname. The Generation V games contain an internal list of censored words which only censors case-insensitive matches. From Generation VI onward, the game system (Nintendo 3DS or Nintendo Switch) has its own built-in profanity filter which is used instead; these filters use regular expressions to censor a wide range of attempts to circumvent it. If a Pokémon transferred via Poké Transfer has a nickname that would not be permitted to be entered on the Nintendo 3DS system, the Pokémon's nickname is removed and it uses its species name instead.

In Generation V, nicknames the player enters can only contain up to 4 numeric characters. From Generation VI onward, nicknames the player enters can only contain up to 5 numeric characters. However, Pokémon transferred from previous generations can violate these limits, and their names will not be changed upon transfer.

Outcomes of nicknaming

Nicknaming Pokémon rarely has any effect on gameplay, and is simply an element of customization that players are free to use or ignore. However, there are some cases where nicknames have some small effect on the game.

In Pokémon Stadium and Pokémon Stadium 2, nicknamed Pokémon are sometimes colored differently to non-nicknamed Pokémon. This coloration is not the same as being a Shiny Pokémon. This feature has not been included in any later games.

In Pokémon Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, if the player has given a previously caught Pokémon a nickname at the Name Rater's house, the Hoenn TV network will sometimes report the nickname chosen. The host will always commend the player on his or her choice of name, even if the player decides to leave the Pokémon's name as it was. When records have been mixed with another save file, the television network may report on the other Trainer's choice of nicknames.

In Generation IV, Pokémon with nicknames deemed "inappropriate" may show up in Battle Videos as Pokémon without a nickname: a Staraptor named inappropriately would have its nickname reverted to "STARAPTOR". It is unknown if this censoring is automatic or done on a case-by-case basis by Nintendo employees. From Generation V onward, instead there is profanity filter applied when attempting to nickname Pokémon or when transporting them using Poké Transporter.

In Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, there is a Medal awarded for having nicknamed Pokémon 10 times.

In Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, a BuzzNav program called The Name Rater Show tells a Pokémon's fortune based upon the first letter of its nickname. Additionally, one of the requirements for encountering Regigigas at Island Cave is having a nicknamed Regice that was caught in these games in the party.

Non-player characters and nicknames

NPC-nicknamed Pokémon are somewhat rare, and almost never encountered in battles. However, all Pokémon acquired from in-game trades have nicknames, as well as all Pokémon used by NPC Coordinators, with the exception of Wallace's Milotic in Generation VI. Likely to emphasize the color change effect, most of the Pokémon encountered in Pokémon Stadium also have nicknames. Team Rocket's nicknamed Pokémon have numbers in their nicknames (which was impossible on hand-held games at the time).

In Pokémon Black, White, Black 2, and White 2, for some in-game trade NPCs, after trading with them the player can battle these Trainers, who use the Pokémon that the player traded them, now fully evolved. If this Pokémon was given a nickname by the player before being traded, it will keep that nickname for the battle with the player.

In Black 2 and White 2, due to NPC and player switching one of their Pokémon in PWT's Mix Tournament, it is possible to fight a nicknamed Pokémon if the Pokémon chosen by opponent had a nickname.

In Pokémon Sun, Moon, Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Lillie carries around a Cosmog that she calls "Nebby". However, when the player battles it, after it has evolved into SolgaleoSUS or LunalaMUM, it does not have a nickname, although the player can give it one upon catching it.

Nicknames for the player

050Diglett.png This article is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this article to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: Needs info from USUM

In Pokémon X and Y, the player is referred to by a nickname by Calem/Serena, Shauna, Tierno, and Trevor. The player can choose from three suggestions (based on the first two characters of the player's name if playing in Japanese or the first character if playing in other languages) or enter a nickname of their own choice. For example, in English a male player named "Calem" could choose from "Li'l C", "C-Meister", "Big C", or entering their own nickname.

In the table below, <char> represents the first character of the player's name (<chars> represents the first two characters).

Language Male Female
Japanese <chars>タロ <chars>-taro
<chars>やん <chars>-yan
<chars>P <chars>-P
<chars>っち <chars>-tchi
<chars>ーな <chars>-na
<chars>りん <chars>-rin
English Li'l <char>
Big <char>
Li'l <char>
Lady <char>
French P'tit <char>
Mister <char>
Sieur <char>
P'tite <char>
Miss <char>
Dame <char>
German Mini-<char>
Monsieur <char>
Lord <char>
Madame <char>
Lady <char>
Italian Super <char>
Mr. <char>
Magico <char>
Super <char>
Lady <char>
Magica <char>
Spanish Peque <char>
Mr. <char>
Peque <char>
Lady <char>
Korean <char>군 <char>-gun
<char>돌이 <char>-dori
미스터 <char> Mister <char>
<char>양 <char>-yang
<char>순이 <char>-suni
스위트 <char> Sweet <char>

In spin-off series

Pokémon Channel

In Pokémon Channel, the player has the option to nickname his or her companion, Pikachu, once they become familiar enough with each other.

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series

The exclusive nickname option for Shedinja

In the Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series, the player has the option to name the player and their partner at the beginning of the games, the latter of which defaults to their Pokémon. Later in-game the player and partner form a team which they name; this name cannot be changed in Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, but starting from Explorers of Time and Darkness can be changed at any time from the main menu.

Prior to Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, the player can name any Pokémon that joins their team upon recruitment. In Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky and Gates to Infinity, they can also name a Pokémon when it evolves; this includes the player character and partner, but only if their name is exactly the same as their species name. In Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team, the player and partner's names will automatically update upon evolution if their previous name was exactly the same as their species name. In both generations, Shedinja can be nicknamed at any time if its current name is "Shedinja", a property unique to it.

In Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon, only the player and partner can be named. Their names can be changed at any time, along with their team name, from the main menu.

Other than the cases specifically mentioned, there is no way to change nicknames.

Pokémon GO

050Diglett.png This section is incomplete.
Please feel free to edit this section to add missing information and complete it.
Reason: are there any characters that Pokémon GO does not support?

Caught Pokémon can have a nickname assigned or changed on the Pokémon's summary screen by tapping its name. Nicknames can be up to twelve characters long. Nicknames are not visible to other players. Pokémon GO uses rich text entry, which allows bold tags (<b></b>) and italic tags (<i></i>) to be used; other tags supported by Unity's rich text system are too long to enclose any text.

All text entry uses the keyboard of the device the game is played on.

In the anime

Lillie's Vulpix, who is nicknamed Snowy

Main series

As in the games, nicknaming Pokémon is optional. It is very seldom that main characters have nicknamed their Pokémon, leaving nicknaming largely unique to characters of the day. Often, these characters possess more than one of a species of Pokémon, and nicknaming is to provide distinction, such as in Get Along, Little Pokémon. At other times, the nicknames help to drive the plot, like in Wherefore Art Thou, Pokémon.

The only main characters to possess a nicknamed Pokémon are Ash Ketchum, Misty, James, Lillie, and Lana, who have a Mr. Mime called Mimey, a Luvdisc called Caserin, a Growlithe called Growlie, an Alolan Vulpix called Snowy, and an Eevee called Sandy, respectively. Ritchie, Marina, and Mairin also nickname their Pokémon.

Nicknamed Pokémon still say their species name as their cry in the anime instead of their nickname. For example, Sparky still says "Pikachu" and variants of it.

Ash's mother Delia was the one who gave Mimey its nickname. She also gave several of Ash's Alola Pokémon nicknames in Alolan Open House! and A Full Battle Bounty!.

A surfing Pikachu called Puka appeared in The Pi-Kahuna.

Liza, a recurring character, nicknamed her personal Charizard Charla.

A baby Lugia nicknamed Silver was featured from The Mystery is History to A Promise is a Promise.

In Delcatty Got Your Tongue, Dr. Abby referred to her Delcatty as Johnny.

In Showdown At Linoone, Kimmy Shoney owned a Linoone that he nicknamed Tokin.

In Cooking Up a Sweet Story, Abigail had a Pikachu named Sugar who ran away, and returned as a Raichu.

Mairin, a recurring character who traveled with Alain in Pokémon the Series: XY Mega Evolution Specials, has a Chespin nicknamed Chespie. She has also nicknamed her Flabébé Bébé.

Bonnie, a travelling companion of Ash, nicknamed the Zygarde Core who traveled with the group for a while Squishy.

In Unlocking Some Respect!, Ed and Locke own the right and left part of a Binacle, which they called Righty and Lefty.

An Alolan Persian nicknamed Pershie appeared in ‪That's Why the Litten is a Scamp! and All They Want to Do is Dance Dance!, belonging to a Madame.

In Getting the Band Back Together!, DJ Leo has an Alolan Dugtrio, whose heads are nicknamed Jessica, Ashley, and Michael, respectively. However, the Pokémon itself is referred to as just Dugtrio.

In Rising from the Ruins!, Gladion was revealed to own a Type: Null, which was nicknamed Silvally.

In A Dream Encounter!, Lillie nicknamed the young Cosmog found by Ash Nebby.

In Why Not Give Me a Z-Ring Sometime?, Acerola has a Shiny Mimikyu nicknamed Mimikins. The same episode also featured a Gengar nicknamed the Greedy Rapooh. It befriended Acerola at the end of the episode and later joined her team.

In the original version of All They Want to Do is Dance Dance!, Anela has an Oricorio nicknamed Dori-chan (ドリちゃん). In the English dub, it is simply referred to as Oricorio.

In We Know Where You're Going, Eevee!, Lana nicknamed the Eevee she caught Sandy.

In Best Friend...Worst Nightmare!, Ren was revealed to have a Magnemite nicknamed Francois.

In Dreams Are Made of These!, Oliver owns a Meganium nicknamed Stanium.

In Sword and Shield, Slumbering Weald!, Doug owns a Centiskorch nicknamed Centy.

Pokémon Origins

In File 1: Red, after Red chose Charmander as his starter Pokémon, Professor Oak told him he could nickname it if he wanted to. However, Red chose to leave Charmander without a nickname, although he did consider giving it the nickname Sepultura in the Japanese version.

In the manga

Some Pokémon manga series use nicknames as a way to differentiate and individualize Pokémon characters.

Pokémon Adventures

At least two Pokédex holders in each region name their Pokémon. Quite often, the Trainer will nickname his or her Pokémon with a particular pattern, such as how Crystal ends most of her Pokémon's nicknames with the "ee" sound, and Gold ends most of his Pokémon's names with "bo". Several other characters nickname their Pokémon as well; for example, Brock's six Geodude are each named after a number, from "Geoone" to "Geosix".

Unlike in the games, nicknames of owned Pokémon can be changed when the owner of the Pokémon is changed. Examples of this include Mr. Stone's Castform being named Fofo by Ruby, Gurkinn's Gengar being named Garma by X, and Grace's Rhyhorn being named Rhyrhy by Y. Also, nicknames may be removed by the new Trainer, as Silver's Kingdra was nicknamed Tat-chan when she was under Green's ownership.

In other languages

Language Title
Chinese Cantonese 暱稱 Nīkchīng
Mandarin 暱稱/昵称 Nìchēng
Denmark Flag.png Danish Kælenavn
The Netherlands Flag.png Dutch Bijnaam
Finland Flag.png Finnish Lempinimi
France Flag.png French Surnom
Germany Flag.png German Spitzname
Italy Flag.png Italian Soprannome
South Korea Flag.png Korean 닉네임 Nickname
Poland Flag.png Polish Przezwisko
Portuguese Brazil Flag.png Brazil Apelido
Portugal Flag.png Portugal Alcunha
Spain Flag.png Spanish Mote
Sweden Flag.png Swedish Smeknamn
Vietnam Flag.png Vietnamese Biệt danh

See also

Pokémon training