Dear Bruce: Why Is the Impression a Name Makes So Important?

Q: Why is the impression a name makes so important?

A: When people read or hear a name, an image often pops into their heads. Some
names, like John, have been used by so many people that its dependable,
good-guy image is ubiquitous. Famous namesakes, however, can affect the images
of many names, for good or bad. Because people think of Adolf Hitler when they
hear the name Adolf, it’s not a good name to pick for your child. The most
notorious namesakes for some names may come from characters in books or movies.
Imagine the reaction of the pious woman sitting next to you at church when you
tell her your baby’s name is Damien, if she knows it’s the name of the
devil-like character in the popular horror flick The Omen. And don’t forget that
images can change: Former Mouseketeer Britney Spears’ recent escapades have
tarnished the image of her name.

Because your child’s name is the first thing that people will know about him or
her, it’s very important to choose a name that makes a good first impression.
I’ve analyzed hundreds of thousands of survey responses about the first
impressions names make to create a book on the subject (5-Star Baby Name

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