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Not all, if any Sith keep their names after they fall/succumb to the dark side. Case in point: Anakin and Palpatine. Are the names picked by the master or the student? Is there some significance to the name?

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    They've got a big hat hidden on an obscure world near the core. It has a list of all possible sith names, they just pick one when the student earns it.
    – Kevin
    Feb 29, 2012 at 22:58
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    They say Darth and then the first word spoken after that is the name chosen. Feb 29, 2012 at 23:04
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    @KevinHowell: This fall in your book stores: The epic tale of Darth Atishoo! Will he be defeated by Master Great White Handkerchief?
    – bitmask
    Feb 29, 2012 at 23:09
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    Did you just actually call him "Annie"? Ew.
    – Iszi
    Feb 29, 2012 at 23:32
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    I think the formula is either "Darth " + get_bad_word_starting_with_in().erase(0,2) or "Darth " + get_bad_word() + pick_either("","is").
    – gnovice
    Mar 1, 2012 at 1:22

7 Answers 7

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Well, first of all, NOT all Sith did that. Both Darth Revan , Darth Zannah and Darth Malak are examples to the contrary.

As far as naming, I wasn't able to find the rules yet, but as far as your examples:

  • Plagueis anointed his apprentice "Darth Sidious". (src: Wikia)

  • In ROTS, Darth Vader is also named by his Master, Palpatine.

I wasn't able to find a canon reference for a Master naming the apprentice to be a general rule though.

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    Darth Maul, iirc, was Maul before he turned sith.
    – Kevin
    Mar 1, 2012 at 3:22
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    "Well, first of all, NOT all Sith did that. Both Darth Revan , Darth Zannah and Darth Malak are examples to the contrary." - DVK? Darth Malak is an common fault when it comes to discussion of dark lords name. Darth Malaks birth name was Alek Squinquargesimus, by the Republic's immigration records. And thus Alek became Malak, putting and "M" before the name and changes "e" into "a". starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Malak
    – user33544
    Oct 4, 2014 at 7:58
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    Alek Squinquargesimus? Obviously, Malak upgraded.
    – Omegacron
    Mar 6, 2015 at 15:56
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I may be wrong, but according to the Darth Bane Trilogy name were chosen from words that would invoke thoughts of strong emotions when spoken. For instance, Darth Bane chose his name because throughout his childhood his abusive father would call him "the bane" of his existence. This allowed Darth Bane to focus his hatred of his father and gain immense control of the darkside. Inversely some names were chosen to force the sith lord to forget his or her former life and become more tuned to the darkside.

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    This is a really interesting possibility - it actually kind of answers 'why the hell Darth Father?!' Maybe that constantly reminds Vader of the loss (as far as he and Sidious know) of his pregnant wife and unborn child - keeping him angry and resentful!
    – Shisa
    Oct 5, 2014 at 3:11
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The Darth names were chosen based on the character as well. Darth Vader originally came from the word Invader. Sidious = Insidious, Tyranus = Tyrant, Plagueis = Plague, etc.

Even the characters who used their actual name had a separate meaning. Bane (as shown above) was the “bane of his father’s existence”, Darth Revan = Revenge, Malak = Malicious, Talon = scary natural weapon, Darth Krayt = Terrible creature of the Star Wars universe.

The names also tended to have a secondary meaning as well. Darth Tyranus was an actual Tyrant, Sidious was an insidious planner and very cunning, Maul was a strong Sith warrior, Plagueis was powerful with virulent diseases/plagues, Darth Vader “invaded” the Jedi Order destroying it. Darth Revan originally set out to get revenge for the Jedi and Bane was not only a bane to his father, but to the Sith having instituted the rule of 2. This is just an observation I’ve noticed over the years. It’s very interesting to follow.

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  • Very interesting deduction. I hadn't thought of it like this before.
    – shea
    Jul 9, 2015 at 14:34
  • The above is wrong. Vader means "Invader", and Maul was the birthname of Darth Maul, so it does not mean anything specific.
    – user56032
    Nov 19, 2015 at 13:09
  • @nme: Well, with him being named Maul, and his brother named Savage Opress, it is a bit much of a coincidence that all of these name parts match violence-related English terms. Dec 28, 2015 at 19:40
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Up to the second script of The Empire Strikes Back, "Darth Vader" was his first and last name. It's when Vader became "Father Skywalker" that Lucas decided that "Darth" was to be the first name of all Sith.

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    Then from "name" to more of a rank?
    – Nick T
    Mar 7, 2012 at 2:39
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    Not necessarily.... remember that in THE PHANTOM MENACE, while Darth Maul calls Sidious his "master" Sidious' actual name is still Darth Sidious.
    – Arc-Vile
    Mar 7, 2012 at 3:08
  • If it was some kind of rank then the master wouldn't be named "Darth" either.
    – Arc-Vile
    Mar 7, 2012 at 3:09
  • Not so much rank as title. "DARklordofthesiTH". Nov 2, 2014 at 0:24
  • @StephenCollings "Dark Lord of the Sith" was a separate title form "Darth". See the second paragraph here.
    – Null
    Nov 2, 2014 at 1:24
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Sometimes it precedes a birth name like mentioned above, but usually I believe that the name comes from the dark side itself. Sidious paused before naming Vader. Perhaps he was consulting the dark side.

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Well actually in some cases the Sith Lords weren't very creative. Great examples would be Darth Revan and Darth Malak. Malak's original name was just simply "Alek", so all he really did was switch a few letters in his name around. And "Revan" wasn't even the man's name. His name, as far as I know, has never actually been established. This is the same with his home world and his birthyear, although it is commonly BELIEVED to be 3994 BBY on Deralia in the Outer Rim. He got the name Revan because during the Mandalorian Wars he lead the Revanchist Movement. In order to identify him, the Republic Media started calling him the "Revanchist Leader". This was later shortened to "the Revanchist". It wasn't until he and many other Jedi that were with him on Cathar experienced a powerful Force Vision after Revan touched a Mandalorian Mask. The Vision showed a lone Mandalorian warrior pleading with her brethren to spare the civilians before them. She was praised by her fellow warriors for her efforts, and then killed along with them. Once the Vision ended, the unnamed Jedi donned the Mask, and swore to never remove it until the fallen warrior's sacrifice had been avenged and proclaimed "So swears...Revan!" That's how he got his name, it wasn't influenced by the Dark Side or anything like that, because at the time he was still a Jedi Master.

So yeah even though there's a heck of a lot of meaning behind their names, it appears some of the Sith Lords weren't very creative when picking and choosing names. This just makes me wonder if there actually is a system/method for deciding.

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    Welcome to SFF.SE. This is interesting background information for a few Sith Lords but doesn't really answer how the names are picked in general.
    – Null
    May 28, 2015 at 19:48
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By movie directors speaking latin. Sidious (insidious) :evil, Plaguis (plague) :death, Vader:Father, Maul:destroy, Tyranus (tyrant):king etc. I think the masters make them in movies, and the masters name them according to what the apprentices act like. Except Anakin (aka Annie... lol boygirl). I don't know how palatine named him. Probably because he predicted the future. Or something.

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    Those aren't Latin words.
    – phantom42
    Jul 9, 2015 at 11:46
  • father in german is Vader and Darth means dark i forgot what language darth it though so his Palpatine named dark father.
    – xpert
    Mar 4, 2020 at 17:31

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