I really have problems giving the military nation of my protagonist a unique, but also serious name that fits into the whole military nation thing. So here are my questions:

  • What makes a name sound unrealistic (or unserious/unbelievable)?

  • How do I prevent such dilemmas in the future?

I don't want to hear any names, I'd just like to see how I could get more ideas.


Hollywood and British Film & TV industry often chops existing names or provinces together

  • Buranda - African
  • Brungaria - Eastern European
  • Elbonia - Balkans
  • Corto Maltese - South American
  • Kyrzbekistan - Central Asia
  • Genovia - Europe

Check https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_countries

There's also Country name generators online. Click till you find one you like.

Also try:

  1. pick a foreign sounding word you like the sound of e.g. sorelle
  2. Change a consonant for effect e.g. germanic military use harsh sounds so "sorek"
  3. Change a vowel e.g. "sorok"
  4. Add nationalistic trimmings e.g. People's Demococratic Republic of Sorok
  5. Check google for meanings in other languages
    • swear words
    • unintended meanings "pee cola"

Look at names of real countries in the region where you are setting your fictional country, and try to match the pattern.

For example, there are several real countries in south Asia with names ending in "-stan", such as Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kazakhstan. So a name ending in "-stan" would sound plausible. Several countries in Europe have names ending "-ia", like Romania and Slovakia. Etc.

If you know the language, or with a little help from an on-line translator, you can come up with a name that means something. Unless this is a humor book or an allegory, I wouldn't use a name that means "evil tyrant" or something like that, a name no one is likely to actually give to their own country. More something like "Transylvania", meaning "land beyond the forest"; "Australia", from "Terra Australis" meaning "southern land"; or a Chinese friend once told me that "Taiwan" means "beautiful bay".

Try to match the "sound" of real country names. It occurs to me that a gotcha would be to have a letter in the name of your country that represents a sound not found in the languages of that region, like having an "L" sound in a country where people speak Chinese.


You can rely on the languages of the real world that are influenced by a certain culture your nation is based on. This is what a lot of fictional works that are based on medieval times do, or even those that are based on ancient China, Japan, etc. Always take inspiration from the real world because it never fails to help.

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