What is in a Name?

Appended Minutes for the BMNS 1st Annual Meeting

The BattleMech Naming Society calls its first official meeting in order to create a taxonomy of naming conventions for the powerful machines that captured the hearts and battlefields of people across known space.

Let us begin. After discussing potential categorizations of ‘Mechs, and debating whether or not certain animals are actually insects, we have created a six stage system that classifies virtually every BattleMech name currently used.  Please note, these lists are not exhaustive, but intended to show the names of ‘Mechs commonly used.

Orion the Hunter

A) Myths, Legends and Religions – This category holds all names that classify into various faiths and legends around the world.  It is subdivided into four genres.

1). Deities:  Examples include Zeus, Loki, Thor, Hermes, Hercules, Mercury, Atlas, Anubis, Osiris, and Vulcan.

2). Monsters:  Examples include Griffin, Barghest, Ti Ts’Ang, Grendel, Wyvern, Rakshasa, Bandersnatch, Men Shen, Dragon, Imp, Cerberus, and Kraken.

3). Characters:  Examples include Lancelot, Beowulf, Goliath, Merlin, Black Knight, Galahad, Icarus II and Grendel

4). Word of Blake Religious Names:  Examples include  Lightray, Deva, Grigori, Preta, Seraph, and Archangel.

Your Battle Hawk has Arrived

B).  Animals – More units are named after these conventions than any other, while BattleMech designers explore real life animals to inspire their designs.  In particular, this is a very common nomenclature among designs from the Clans, who often choose to name a design after their own Clan Symbol.

1).  Birds:  Examples include many Hawks (Goshawk, Battle Hawk, Shadow Hawk, Falcon Hawk, etc), as well as Falcon, Albatross, Raven, Raptor, Eagle, and Vulture.

2).  Insects and Pests:  Examples include Wasp, Hornet, Scorpion, Firefly, Locust, Flea, Cicada, Grasshopper, Mantis, Spider, Tarantula, and Fire Moth.

3).  Dogs and Cats (and similar animals): Examples include Jackal, War Dog, Panther, Wolverine, Wolfhound, Lynx, Timber Wolf, and Rabid Coyote.

4).  Lizards:  Examples include Cobra, Copperhead, Snake, Adder, Viper, Black Python, Blood Asp, Komodo, Great Turtle, and Chameleon.

5).  Other: Examples include Crab, King Crab, Salamander, Porcupine, Razorback, Jackrabbit, Howler, Baboon, Stone Rhino, Grizzly, Kodiak, and Piranha.

Exterminators do Things!

C). Groups or People – The second largest category of names is this group, which includes all names of individuals, titles, and groups of people.  (Note this was also one of the most contentious categories in our debate.)

1).  Ethnic or Cultural:  Examples include Highlander, Cossack, Hollander, Huron Warrior, Viking, Dervish, Hussar, and Spartan.

2).  Someone Who Does Something:  Examples include Marauder, Stalker, Annihilator, Crusader, Sentinel, Archer, Bombardier, Paladin, Gunslinger, Enforcer, Firestarter, and Pillager.

3).  A Profession:  Examples include Sentry, Buccaneer, Thug, Linebacker, Hauptmann, Centurion, Hoplite, Falconer, Marshal, Shugenja, Brigand, and Executioner.

4).  Label for Someone:  Examples include Champion, Hunchback, Quickdraw, Caesar, Shogun, Ronin, Emperor, Initiate, Yeoman, Patriot, Warlord, Daimyo, and BattleMaster.

5).  Names:  Examples include Owens, Clint, Toyama, Whitworth, and  Von Rohrs.

A Dart for Your Heart

D).  Items – Weapons and Equipment are a common naming device as well.

1).  Close Range Weapons:  Examples include Warhammer, Battleax, Cestus, Naginata, Stiletto, Katana, Cudgel, Excalibur, and Ninja-to.

2).  Long Range Weapons: Examples include Javelin, Catapult, Trebuchet, Daikyu, Longbow,  Duan Gung, and Crossbow.

3).  Equipment: Examples include Hammer, Anvil, Guillotine, Kabuto, and Hatamato-Chi.

It’s Supernova!

E).  Weather or the Stars – A small number of units are named after natural phenomena either on planets or space.  There are not many, but some include Thunder, Thunderbolt, Tempest, Maelstrom, Nightsky, Tsunami, Nova, Icestorm, and Red Shift.

F). Unclassifiable: While the vast majority of BattleMech names fit into the first four categories, and a handful into the 5th, a small number defy this taxonomy.  A few examples are included here – Stealth, Venom, Thorn, UrbanMech, Nexus, and Legacy.

End of Appended Minutes


About twelve years ago I noticed that virtually all unit names were in the first four categories, and I created this quick and dirty system of naming ‘Mechs.  I then used it to name my own designs that would fit right into the universe, so I had BattleMechs called Attila, Alexander, Bumblebee, and more.  I thought it would be fun to share with you, just as a fun way to look at names!

Share this:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.