It is commonly called the snake plant (not to be confused with the very similarly named "Snakeplant", Nassauvia serpens), because of the shape of its leaves, or mother-in-law's tongue because of their sharpness.
In China, it is known as hǔwěilán (Tiger's Tail Orchid). In Japan, it is called 'Tiger's Tail. In Brazil, it is commonly known as espada-de-são-jorge (sword-of-saint-george). In Turkey it is known as Paşa Kılıcı (The Pasha Sword) due to its blade-like shape, it is commonly associated with Ogun, the Orisha of war (usually associated with Saint George), and is used in rituals to remove the evil eye. A yellow-tipped variant is known as espada-de-santa-barbara (sword-of-saint-barbara), and is associated with Iansan/Oya, the female orisha of storms (usually associated with the sword-bearing image of Saint Barbara). In Africa, the plant is used as a protective charm against evil or bewitchment.