1. Avoid names that sound like names of objects or places or creatures other than people.
Examples: Moon Unit, North, Yamma, Dweezil, Bronx, Fifi Trixibelle, Little Pixie Frou-Frou, Diezel, Ocean
2. Avoid names unlikely to be taken seriously–and likely to promote teasing or bullying.
Examples: Jermajesty, Audio Science, Pilot “Standard” Inspektor, Zeppelin, Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen, Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily, Moxie CrimeFighter
3. Avoid names that most people would find difficult to recognize or identify as to national or ethnic origin.
Examples: Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa, Zuma Nesta Rock Rossdale,
4. Avoid names whose first, middle and family names don’t go well together.
Examples: Bronx Mowgli Wentz, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson, Kal-El Coppola Cage, Daisy-Boo Pamela Oliver, Yamma Noyola Brown
5. Avoid names likely to promote an inflated ego or the impression of an inflated ego.
Examples: Prince Michael, Jermajesty, The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
6. Avoid names that create a sleazy sexual impression.
Example: Alabama Gypsy Rose Jenkins
7. Avoid names that create a criminal or evil impression.
Example: Pirate Howsmon Davis
8. Avoid names that are difficult to pronounce or remember.
Examples: Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa
9. Avoid names that are difficult to spell or remember.
Examples: Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa, Rosalind Arusha Arkadina Altalune Florence Thurman-Busson, Diezel
10. Avoid names that aren’t versatile enough to work well for both formal and informal occasions.
For example: Daisy-boo, Fifi Trixibelle, Little Pixie Frou-Frou, Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ocean
Discussion: I provided examples for each of the “mistakes to avoid,” to demonstrate the nature and scale of the mistake. For example It’s not a “mistake” to use a “gender-neutral name” like Jordan or Riley. But it’s impossible to tell what kind of creature or thing Moon Unit, Dweezil and Ocean are. I have chosen egregious examples of each type of mistake to demonstrate how difficult or disturbing it would be to be go through life with names that present the child in such a demeaning and unfavorable way.
Consider that the Social Service Administration lists Major, Messiah and King as three of the top-seven fastest rising boys’ names in 2012. The name Major might suggest you come from a military family and the name might be a family tradition (e.g., to honor a grandfather whose military rank was Major.) But George Alexander Louis Windsor won’t be King George for many years if ever–he’s third in line for the crown. So King is a big mistake. (It might encourage your son to demand that his “subject” bow down and kiss his feet every morning, before she pours cereal and milk into his royal cereal bowl). And Messiah? How nice to have a messiah in the family–until you get the psychotherapy bills. These are the kind of big, bad blunders we’re trying to avoid here. (They’re the kind of mistakes you can read about in celebrity gossip columns or watch on TV talk shows almost every day.)
P.S. It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that this list of mistakes is part of the training for all recruits to the Baby Name Police. We test candidates for their ability to distinguish clever, creative names from “joke names” likely to backfire on the child and the parents (who will be stuck with the psychotherapy bills).