Australian and New Zealand Parents Are Prevented from Giving Babies Ridiculous Royal and Religious Names

Parents from Down Under are currently being prevented from giving their babies names likely to subject them to “a lifetime of mockery and ridicule,” to quote the Australian Times. Names to avoid in Australia include the following royal, religious, vain and silly names like these:

Religious: Lord, Glory Hallelujah, New Covernant

Royal: King, Prince, Princess, Royal, Princess Diana

Vain: Wonderful, Beautiful

Silly: Fireman Sam, Honest Mary

Bizarre: Anarchy, Tit

New Zealand’s list of names to avoid is longer and contains a wider variety of pompous royal, religious, political, military titles and other silly monikers, including:

Royal: Majesty, Eminence, King, Queen, Queen Victoria, Prince, Princess, Regal

Noble: Duke, Baron, Knight, Lady

Religious: Lord, Christ, Saint, Eminence, Bishop, Minister,

Military: General, Major, Sargent

Political: Emperor, President, Chief, Justice, H.Q.

Silly: Lucifer, Rogue, Mafia No Fear, 4Real

I’m writing this post because in North America, some of the most pompous names (like King, Prince, Princess and Messiah)are growing rapidly in popularity and are likely to subject huge numbers of children to mockery and ridicule. Some parents are so thrilled with their offspring they pick names their children will never be able to live up to or live down. Are those parents smart enough to pick “normal” middle names. One would hope so, but the odds are against it.




Bestselling YA author, John Green, Writes About Baby Names

I was reading a YA novel by John Green. And on page 42 of An Abundance of Katherines I found this charming conversation about a particularly inconsiderate baby name.

Quick story summary: High-school buddies, Colin and his friend Hassan, are on a summer road trip, which has taken them from Chicago to rural Tennessee. A tour guide named Lindsey is leading the boys through a to a spot where Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is supposedly buried. Colin falls and bangs his head on something hard. He is bleeding…

“Possible concussion,” Lindsey noted, “What day is it? Where are you?”
“It’s Tuesday, and I’m in Tennessee.”
“Who was the junior senator from New Hampshire,” Hassan asked.
“Bainbridge Wadleigh,” answered Colin. “I don’t think I have a concussion.”
“Is that for real?” asked Lindsey. “I mean, did you really know that?”
Colin nodded slowly.”I know all the senators. Also, that’s an easy one to remember–because I think how much your parents have to hate you to name you Bainbridge Wadleigh.”

I don’t think people who give their children awful names like Bainbridge Wadleigh (or Zuma Nesta Rock) consciously hate their children, although that is certainly a logical possibility. More likely, they’re not thinking about their children when they pick awful names. They’re thinking about themselves (for example, how clever they are). But parents who pick inconsiderate names for their children need to understand the message such names send their children–who are likely to think: “My parents must hate me.”

For most children, names like Bainbridge, Jermajesty, Adolph or Messiah come across as unforgivable acts of hostility. What a great way to get the parent-child relationship off to a good start. Not!

For corroboration on this point, check my recent post about Peaches Geldof, who died recently. Sadly, forensic investigators have turned up evidence of a possible heroin overdose. How interesting, in view of what she thought of her name.


“Why Do the Rich and Famous Give Their Children Such Ridiculous Names?” –Peaches Geldof

I want to thank David Kates for calling my attention to a quote from the late Peaches Geldof in a column she wrote discussing Apple, the name Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin selected for their daughter about ten years ago:

“Why do the rich and famous give their children such ridiculous names? Mine has haunted me all my life, and will continue to do so. I am named, as you may have noticed, after a fruit. I’m not Jane or Sarah or Samantha: I am Peaches.”

I’m always amazed to read celebrity birth announcements in People, Us and other entertainment (gossip) columns and blogs and like Nameberry which treat ridiculous baby names as though they are cute, charming or fashionable and portray the A-list celebrities who give ridiculous names to their children as brilliant trend-setters and visionaries.

I read David Kate’s “Dad-in-Training column all the way through and couldn’t figure out what his point of view was about baby-naming except that he seemed to think that picking a name was an important decision for parents to make. Now there’s a novel idea!

P.S. Just read a news item about Peaches Geldof which informed me that forensic investigators have turned up evidence that her recent death might have been caused by a heroin overdose. Sad, isn’t it?

Dear Bruce: Nobody Has the Right to Pass Judgment on “Game of Thrones” Names

Dear @Mercurial Jane,

I assume you took offense after reading my recent post: “Surprise: “Game of Thrones” Fans are Naming Daughters Daenerys and Khaleesi (as Well as Arya)” In that post, I commented that Daenarys and Khaleesi are likely to be misspelled and mispronounced by most children and adults who are not familiar with Game of Thrones.  I wonder if you noticed my comment that Arya was likely to work better as a baby name than Daenarys and Khaleesi, because it looks and sounds like Aria and won’t be as hard to spell or pronounce as either Daenarys and Khaleesi.

it is likely to be frustrating and annoying for children whose parents give them names of characters from Game of Thrones (or any movie or TV show) that are likely to be mangled and likely to get them teased or bullied. (I also mentioned Katniss (a name from The Hunger Games) as another impractical baby name because it is also likely to be misspelled and mispronounced.)

I hope you’ll agree that the child who has been victimized by a name he or she doesn’t like is one person who has a legitimate “right to pass judgment.”Another person who has a right to pass judgment would be a baby-name expert whose mission is to help parents make intelligent baby naming decisions by avoiding names likely to subject their children  to embarrassment or teasing. Sorry to inform you that teasers and bullies will go right ahead and make children with strange-sounding names miserable without asking for your permission.

I hope you realize I’m not criticizing Game of Thrones. I’m simply pointing out that not every name mentioned in a TV show or movie will make a great name for children. And to pick a name that will be a pleasure for the parents and the child, parents need to distinguish between what works well in the TV show and what is likely to work well in the real world.







Drew Magary Claims that American Baby Names Are Getting Even Worse


Here’s a small sample of names Drew Magary found in a recent issue of Parents magazine. Readers were asked what they would name their next baby boy or girl. Here are just a few of the names Drew Magary went off on.

First, some boys’ names: 

Jaydien That’s right. Jaydien. Don’t forget that I. That I is what sets young Jaydien apart from the mere Jaydens of the world. Now don’t you people who named your kid Jayden feel behind the times? You bought the beta version of that name. It’s like buying an iPad too early. Six years from now, the name will have morphed into Jayydizzosoian, and then you’ll really feel like a sucker.

Tulsa If you’re gonna name your kid after a place, at least have the common courtesy to name him after a legitimate tourist destination. No one wants to hang out with a kid named Tulsa, or a kid named Kalamazoo. Ol’ Kal. Always gettin’ in trouble.

Zaiden Of course Zaiden is here. It takes Jayden and throws a Z in front, which makes it SO STRONG. God, I just wanna slap a loincloth on little Zaiden and club dragons with him. Be on the lookout for Drayden, Fayden, Waiden, Strayden, and Klayden coming to your hood.

Zebulon Classic hillbilly, with the bonus of sounding like a cartoon alien planet.

Then some girls’ names:

Annyston Joined by brother Schwymmir

Brook’Lynn The abuse of apostrophes in names has to end. A reasonable person should be able to know, by looking at a name, when one syllable ends and another begins. But no, [some people] all over the country have to be like “I’ll name him Raw’Bert.” You stop that. Give me some credit for being able to read even if you can’t.

• Luxx Why not add that third x and fulfill her destiny? That’s what you want, right? You want little Luxx to grow up, move to the Valley and earn $60 a week getting jet spraykakke’d for a series of Brazzers short films, yes? There’s no other reason to name your child Luxx.

Sharpay This is a character from High School Musical. It’s also a breed of dog. Why stop there? Name your child Dobyrman.

And his close:

There are so many more horrible names on the list: Tayzia, Xylethia, Kayson, Mayson, Kayleen—it goes on and on and on. I wish I could tell you there’s an end to this, that writing your local Congressman to draft laws preventing this kind of child abuse from happening would do the trick. But I can’t. It won’t. Our fate is sealed, not unlike that of poor Luxx. Luxxx. Luxxxx’Ann. God help us all.

Click on the link, above, and read the whole article on Deadspin. It’s seriously funny; read it all.

An Open Letter to About The Most Bizarre Name, Zzyzx

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for writing me about Zzyzx. I think the research you collected about the “most bizarre” name was interesting from the standpoint of using bizarre names to gain attention for your website. However, I seriously doubt that “real baby name experts with a passion for onomnastics” are interested in finding out whether the most bizarre name is Zzyzx, Abcde or Nimrod. I think there are a lot more interesting and important questions to investigate. By spending time and money on consumer research to find the most bizarre name you trivialize your “baby name experts” and the value of your website to parents.

I can imagine 15 clowns driving to work in a Smart Fortwo auto and piling out at your front door. They agree that Zzyzx is the most bizarre name but debate whether Abcde or Nimrod is the second most bizarre name. Good luck in finding someone who takes the work of your onomnastics experts seriously.

Bruce Lansky
Baby Names in the News

P.S. I just got back from a trip to sunny southern California. Suddenly the snow is gone from Minnesota roads and golf courses. I haven’t written a new post in about a week. I hope you don’t mind me having a little fun at your expense. If you’re serious about wanting some tips about what you should be researching and writing about instead of discovering “the most bizarre name,” here are a few ideas: What motivates a parents to give their babies bizarre names like Zzyzyx, Nimrod or Abcde? Should bizarre names like these be banned? If not, do people see them as a form of child abuse? If so, what kind of court-ordered “counseling” should the parents who gave their babies these names receive?


From: Dennis van Rooij Sent: Thursday, April 10, 2014 2:38 PM

Subject: Zzyzx voted the most bizarre real baby name

Hi Bruce,

My name is Dennis van Rooij and I’d like to let you know about an article we at eBabyNames have been working on. We wanted to investigate what people think is the worst baby name of the last fifteen years. There are a lot of lists about the worst celebrity baby names, but how good (or bad) are American parents themselves when it comes to picking a baby name? We compiled a list of strange names from the past 15 years and asked 1,500 people to let us know what they considered the most strange name and why. We also asked them if they know people with strange names themselves that might not have been on our list.

We were able to find the top ten strangest baby names and found that, while everyone agreed on the number one name, there was a difference between men and women and between the Western and Eastern part of the US.

You can read the full article here:

I hope you like the article. Maybe you could share your opinion on the article or give us some tips for future articles?


eBabyNames is a team of name experts and web designers. eBabyNames is a website built to help expectant parents find the best baby names. Unlike many websites, our database of names was created by real name experts with a great passion for onomastics, the study of names and their backgrounds. As a result, we proudly offer a selection of the finest baby names accompanied by accurate and complete background info.

Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

With kind regards,

Dennis van Rooij


After 18 Years as YingYing, She Decided to Change Her Name to Something More American

YingYing Shang has wanted to change her name since she was 7 years old. She was teased to tears and made to feel “foreign” even when teachers and acquaintances had not intended to hurt her feelings.

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like to have a weird name until you have one. (That’s why it bothers me when “name experts,” like Pamela Redmond Satran and Aela Mass of Nameberry, recommend names likely to cause embarrassment, teasing and even bullying.) Here’s a quick glimpse of what YingYing went through and why she was so motivated to change her name:

“Having an ethnic name in America has its difficulties. Growing up, my given name, YingYing, was distorted in more ways than you can possibly imagine — sometimes intentionally, sometimes not. The simplest situations that necessitated introducing myself to a stranger would make me cringe in apprehension. I learned to anticipate the extended pause when a substitute teacher reached my name on the attendance list, and raise my hand preemptively to spare them the pain.

“Last name Shang? It’s YingYing. That’s YingYing, with two Is.”

The simplest tasks, from ordering a Starbucks to giving my name to a service attendant at the mall, were fraught with mishaps.

Even when my name was spelled and pronounced correctly, an ethnic name comes with the unshakable assumption of foreignness.

Despite being 17 and supposedly hardened to the cruelty of the world, there was still a particular sting when an anonymous commenter wrote snidely on one of my pieces, “There’s a grammar mistake, but good luck telling someone named YingYing Shang about an English error.”

I’m impressed by the name YingYing chose as her new “American” name, Eva. It’s an alternate form of Eve, a Hebrew name that means “life.” And it’s a short form of Evangelina, a Greek name that means “bearer of good news.” Maybe Eva noticed that girls’ names ending with an “a” are increasing in popularity and that Ava is currently the #5 most popular girl’s name. The long “e” vowel sound of Eva reminds her of the repeated long “e” vowel sounds of YingYing. So after thinking about changing her name for eleven years, I think Eva Shang made a wise choice in selecting her new “American” name.

I’m grateful to YingYing for sharing her story so we’ll be more empathetic when we meet people with awkward-sounding names they didn’t choose and I’m grateful to xoJane for publishing it.