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How Do the Sith Get Their Names?

How Do the Sith Get Their Names?

In the Sith Order, the name Darth signified a high rank equivalent to Jedi Master. The name further signified a new life for the Sith Lord, and it was an honor to receive the title. Darth has a winding history, and a few theories explain the term’s origins. 

Sith names correspond with some negativity, such as Sidious, which sounds like insidious. Darth often precedes Sith names, and the title, while not required, is an honor, explaining why most Sith embrace the label.

How Do Sith Come Up With Names?

Every prominent Sith Lord in Star Wars has either undergone a name change, or they placed the word Darth in front of their names. But in the case of Sheev Palpatine, Anakin Skywalker, and Count Dooku, how did they receive the names Sidious, Vader, and Tyranus?

Darth Sidious’ decision to rename Anakin Skywalker as Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith sheds light on how Sith Lords create names for their Apprentices. 

Star Wars Episode III - Revenge of the Sith - Anakin becomes Darth Vader, Sith Lord - 4K ULTRA HD.
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Per The Stupendous Wave, George Lucas stated before Episode III’s release that fans would discover why Darth Sidious created the name Vader for Anakin. However, the movie did not follow through and it left fans shrouded in mystery. 

An early theory stated that Vader was used given its use as the Dutch term for father. Darth Sidious knew Anakin’s wife Padamè was pregnant, so it made sense for Sidious to call his new Apprentice Darth Vader.

George Lucas even supported the theory. But it turned out to be a smokescreen, as Darth Vader initially was not Luke Skywalker’s father.

Despite the busted myth, it’s also to see why the theory was so popular. 

Anakin’s motivation to join the Sith stemmed from disturbing visions he had of Padamè dying at childbirth. So to save his family, Anakin sacrificed his allegiance to the light side and the Jedi Order and surrendered to Darth Sidious. 

Why Palpatine Chose the Name DARTH VADER For Anakin - Star Wars Explained

Did Revenge of the Sith’s Novelization Leave a Clue? 

In Revenge of the Sith’s novelization, more detail arises regarding how the Sith come up with names. 

When Sidious renamed Anakin, he paused, implying he’s seeking an answer from the dark side of the Force. The dark side revealed Darth Vader to Sidious, and he passed the name to Anakin. 

Palpatine does this in Revenge of the Sith. Before reappointing Anakin as Darth Vader, he pauses briefly, before uttering his new apprentice’s name. 

How are Darth Names Created?

Darth Vader with a red lightsaber in black background

The Sith wanted each name to possess a specific meaning, often akin to intimidation featuring dark overtones. Whether the names played on the Sith language or if they played on real-life terms.

Darth Bane served as a phenomenal example. If you look up the word bane, it’s synonymous with distress, destruction, curse, and poison. 

Or Darth Revan, whose name sounds similar to revanche, a French term translated into English means revenge. 

Darth Plagueis sounds like the plague, while Darth Sidious resembles insidious. Synonyms for insidious include seductive and treacherous. And given Sheev Palpatine’s cunning ability to overthrow the Jedi and the Galactic Republic, the name Darth Sidious fits well. 

While Dooku went by his given name, Darth Sidious bestowed him the name Darth Tyranus. Like Plagueis and Sidious, Tyranus played on the term tyrant. 

And what was Dooku’s claim to fame in The Prequel Trilogy?

He led the Separatist Alliance against the Republic. 

Looking at the above examples, it’s clear the Sith came up with names that correlate to strong words with negative connotations.

Star Wars: What Each Sith’s Name Means

Why Do Sith Have Darth in Their Names?

The name Darth has a winding history. When Sith took their name, the Darth moniker was not a requirement and many Sith Lords refused to place Darth in front of their name. 

As time passed, Darth symbolized power. Since power defined the Sith’s endgame, they realized using the name Darth struck fear into would-be opponents, allowing them to draw closer to the power they sought. 

Plus, Given Sith Name, Darth also defined the beginning of a “new life.” This held true with Anakin Skywalker when he became Darth Vader in Revenge of the Sith. 

After Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda discovered Vader fell to the dark side, Yoda stated, “Twisted, by the dark side, young Skywalker has become. The boy you trained. Gone he is,” Yoda said. “Consumed by Darth Vader.” 

The Darth moniker further symbolized a Sith Lord’s full allegiance to the dark side and that it would guide them in life. 

It also served as a Rite of Passage. One could not just embrace the dark side to receive the Rite. They had to earn it, like when Sheev Palpatine killed his family before becoming Darth Sidious or Maul enduring torture at Sidious’ hands before given the title. 

Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith Yoda and Obi-Wan Check out the Jedi Temple HD 😘

Where Did the Name Darth Originate?

Many believed the name Darth came from the Rakata, an ancient species that embraced the dark side. In Rakata language, the word Emperor was Doritha, which resembles Darth. 

However, other words from the ancient language also served as possibilities. Triumph, dar, and death, tah, further resembles Darth when combined: Dar Tah. Or triumph over death. 

While this is a sound theory, others existed throughout the Star Wars universe. 

Another theory suggests the Sith used the term Darth before they encountered the Rakata, claiming the term Darth originated around 50,000 BBY with Naga Sadow, an ancient Sith Lord. 

Naga Sadow: 5000 Year Old Sith Lord - Star Wars Explained

Further evidence supporting this theory stemmed from the term’s appearance in Sith texts from the time. 

Are all Sith Named Darth?

Not all Sith received the title of Darth. During the Rule of Two Era, earning the title, Darth signified one was a true Sith. This differed from dark side users the Sith trained, which implied Darth became a rank in the Sith Order. 

Some, like Asjajj Ventress and Savage Opress, embraced the dark side and even trained under Sith Lords like Count Dooku (Darth Tyranus) and Darth Maul but did not earn the honor. 

Darth Venamis held the title, but Darth Plagueis considered it a false title. 

When Darth Krayt became Dark Lord of the Sith in Star Wars Legends, he required dark side wielders to surrender themselves to him. Once he felt they proved their loyalty, he granted them the title of Darth. 

Krayt required Sith Apprentices to kill their Masters. This proved that the Apprentices held loyalty to him over their Masters. 

Meaning/Origin of “Darth” and Why Some Sith Refuse It – Star Wars Explained


Each Sith name holds a distinctive meaning, always correlating with negativity such as Bane, Plagueis, Sidious, and Tyranus. Others, like Vader, may hold more to the individual’s situation or may even derive from the ancient Sith language. 

Not every Sith received the moniker Darth because it symbolized one’s full embracing of the dark side. This often came upon completing a specific task, like killing or even withstanding torture.

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