|This article is about an older version of DF.|
Names are what individual creatures are known by. Creatures in civilizations that can speak are given names upon birth; most other creatures must be given names by such a civilization.
Every member of a civilization has at least two names: a first name and a last name. Creatures are given these names at birth and they are quite random. Unlike most real names, neither name is inherited from the parents.
The first name typically is a single word of the civilization's language. It appears first names are limited solely to nouns. A creature's first name is never translated in-game, unlike all other names. The second name is a compound of two words in the creature's language. It appears that the words can be any two, though Noun-Noun, Adjective-Noun, and Verb-Noun appear to be the most common pairings. The second name is translated to English in several places, such as looking at the creature's profile screen. Words relating to the creature's civilization's selected symbols are more likely to appear in the creature's second name.
Pets and working animals are given names when they are adopted. These names are identical to the standard names of the civilization their owner belongs to. Unlike real life, pets are never renamed if they become the property of someone else. Only pets belonging to the player's fortress are named. The working animals of traders are never named.
Creatures from civilizations who cannot speak will not have names at all, unless they have been given one by other civilizations, and those who can only speak Utterances will likewise have untranslatable names that appear to be gibberish.
When a creature collects five notable kills (typically creatures belonging to a civilization, but also any creature that has scored a notable kill itself), it is given an epithet by its civilization. The epithet is most often two names, but can also occasionally be one, though each of these names can be a compound word. The words appear to be selected somewhat randomly, leading to epithets that translate as gibberish such as "the Hardy Ring-Cobra of Dashing". On occasion, the epithet can be surprisingly apt. The epithet is translated in the same places the creature's second name is translated.
Animals who are not pets can gain a name by acquiring notable kills or through becoming an enemy of a civilization in World generation. The animal is given a name in the language of the creature it killed. Most animals who acquire a name in World Gen do not ever acquire additional ones, though it is possible. Animals can acquire multiple names more frequently either in fortress mode by killing your dwarves or invaders, or in adventurer mode by killing your adventurer or members of his party.
Megabeasts acquire names in an unusual fashion. Unlike other creatures, they do not have a parent civilization. However, all Megabeasts have at least one name and typically have more, up to four. Megabeasts appear to gain their original names from the first civilization they have contact with, and in most cases gain epithets from conflict with others. Megabeasts with only one or two names have likely led uneventful lives.
On occasion, your dwarves will decide to give names to the creatures inhabiting the area around a fortress. It appears that only creatures who can talk will get names. Additionally, the creature must remain on the map for an extended period of time, usually limiting the namings to creatures that inhabit chasms, bottomless pits, underground rivers, and underground pools. However, any creature that can speak, such as a snailman who has become stuck in a ditch, can be given a name. Other than that, the impetus for naming creatures is murky. Some creatures are named after only a few seasons, while others may go unnamed for decades. It may be that a creature must be in the preferences of a dwarf to receive a name, or the naming may occur randomly.