12 baby names that made you go “what were they thinking?”

Here are 12 names that made HerFamilie.ie  wonder, “What were they thinking?” I think you’ll have the same reaction. Here’s their list:

  1. Nutella
    In France one couple recently got the axe for trying to name their child after the world’s favorite chocolate spread. But in the US, however, couples name their kids after their favorite brands all the time. Here are some that were recently registered: Cartier, Chanel, Dior, L’Oreal, Armani and Nike.
  1. Messiah
    A Tennessee judge recently  told two parents that they couldn’t name their child Messiah. However, the judge’s request to deny Messiah his birth name was later overturned because of religious bias, and the child joined the ranks of several thousand others with the name. We feel people might have some unreasonable expectations to this guy!
  1. Porsche
    Well, if Mercedes can do it…
  1. Winner and Loser
    We’re not even joking about this one. Parents from Harlem actually used these names for their twin babies.
  1. Hashtag
    A couple in San Francisco named their first-born Hashtag – we can’t wait for his sister, Retweet, to come along!
  1. @
    No, guys, this is NOT a typo. A Chinese couple wanted to dub their son “@.” But at least they had a sweet reason mind: In Chinese, @ is pronounced ai-ta, which is very similar to a phrase that means “love him”. Okaaaay then, we’ll let them away with that one.
  1. Adolf Hitler
    A New Jersey couple actually named their son Adolf Hitler Campbell — and his poor sister JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell. Guess what? The New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services ended up intervening. Shocker.
  1. Facebook
    In Mexico, a judge recently banned the name Facebook, but an Egyptian dad dubbed his little girl with the same name, and got away with it.
  1. Lucifer
    We feel like it is a little bit poor form to brand your child with the name of Antichrist, no?
  1. Cheese
    Three UK babies were bestowed this moniker last year. We feel like they all need siblings called either Smelly or Chutney.
  1. Panda
    There are no words for this one. Really
  1. Kiwi
    Well, if Gwyneth got away with Apple….

 

10 Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014

While researching awful celebrity baby names for this post, I visited the Celebrity Baby Scoops list of 2014 Hollywood babies to make sure I had considered all the names being considered for Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014. (I found all but one of the names on that list.)

Here are my top-five candidates for worst celebrity baby names of 2014 (for both girls and boys):

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Girls’ Names:

Zhuri Nova James
Parents: NBA all-star Lebron James and his wife Savannah

Comment: Zhuri is a headscratcher and, to add insult to injury, it’s both hard to spell and pronounce. She should be grateful to have a spellable and pronounceable middle name (Nova) to fall back on.

Royal Reign Jones
Mother: rapper Li’l Kim

Comment: Royal Reign is a grandiose name that sounds like royal rain, whatever that is.

Cai MyAnna Dukes
Parents: actor Shanola Hampton and husband, producer Daren Dukes

Comment: Cai presents spelling and pronunciation problems—and MyAnna is another headscratcher.

Daenerys Josephine
Mother: American Idol contestant Gina Glocksen

Comment: Daenerys is name that will only be familiar to “Game of Thrones” fans. No one else is likely to be able to spell or pronounce it.

Wyatt Isabelle Kutcher
Parents: actors Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher

Comment: When parents give their child a unisex name it makes sense to pick a middle name with clear gender identification. But Wyatt is a “macho” name that was chosen by Chicago Bear’s quarterback Jay Cutler to give his son a name that works well in football huddles and frat parties. Why give a macho name to a baby girl and then pair it with an elegant, feminine name like Isabelle? It’s as though the parents couldn’t agree on a naming strategy. Unfortunately, it sends a confusing message to the child and to people the child meets.

5 Worst Celebrity Baby Boys’ Names

Future Zahir Wilburn
Parents: rapper Future and R&B singer Ciara

Comment: Future doesn’t sound much like a name. Actually, Future is the boy’s father’s stage name. (I’m not sure which is worse, his father’s stage name or his father’s real name: Nayvadius Cash.) To make matters worse, a cheating scandal caused a rift between the senior Future and Ciara. So as far as Ciara is concerned, Future (senior) is now the The Past.

Megaa Omari Grandberry
Parents: B2K singer Omarion and girlfriend Apryl Jones

Comment: Megaa is a grandiose name (meaning extra-large or super)–and the extra “a” makes it hard to spell and pronounce. Omari is Megaa’s father’s given first name. (FYI, Omarion’s whole given name is Omari Ishmael Grandberry).

Lyric Sonny Roads Goldberg
Parents: actress/writer/director Soleil Moon Frye and husband, producer Jason Goldberg

Comments: Another headscratcher. Lyric is an “arty” name that may not work well in the locker room. But Sonny couldn’t be more declasse. I know what sunny roads are, but what are sonny roads?

Saint Lazslo Wentz
Parents: rocker Pete Wentz and girlfriend Meagan Camper

Comment: Another grandiose name (Saint). It’s not clear whether the boy is named after St. Lazslo’s winery or the first king (Ladislaus–also known as St. Lazslo) of Hungary. Either way, wine or spirits might have been involved in the selection of the name. By the way, Pete Wentz also fathered a boy with Ashlee Simpson named Bronx Mowgli Wentz which is on many “worst name” lists.

Bodhi Rain Palmer
Parents: “Warm Bodies” star Teresa Palmer and husband Mark Webber

Bodhi Ransom Green
Parents: “Transformer”star Megan Fox and husband Austin Green

Comment: Bodhi means “enlightened one.” It’s a lovely meaning, but most people aren’t enlightened enough to know how to spell and pronounce the name.

P.S. I found a name on a Vocative.com’s “Worst Celebrity Baby Names of 2014” list that I think may be the single best celebrity baby name of 2014. Check it out.

 

 

 

An Open Letter to ebabynames.com 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: http://www.ebabynames.com/zzyzx-most-bizarre-name

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

About eBabyNames.com

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
eBabyNames.com

 

Pamela Satran Hides 15 Usable Names In a List of 100 Mostly Unusable, Rarely-Used Names

I have no idea why Pamela Redmund Satran would want to scatter (in effect hiding) 15 usable names in a long list of Rarely-Used Boys’ Names most of which are problematic for any child who gets them. Why? Because they will strike many as cartoonish, odd, off-putting, old-fashioned, ancient, strange and/or unrecognizable.

Here Are 36 Examples of Problematic Names That Aren’t Used Much Any More for Good Reason:

Cartoonish names: Linus, Abner, Casper, Waldo, Kermit, Homer
Odd names: Basil, Eamon, Vladimir, Boaz, Wolfgang, Caspian, Cosmo
Off-Putting names: Benedict, Enoch, Valentine, Ambrose
Old-fashioned names: Archibald, Woodrow, Clarence, Cornelius, Alistair, Thaddeus, Rupert, Randolph, Phineas
Ancient names: Obadiah, Esau, Horace, Horatio, Leander, Ignatius
Strange, Unrecognizable names: Ozias, Osias, Amias

Why would Pamela Redmond Satran choose to hide 15 pretty good names among such a long list of mostly unusable, unusual names. Maybe the idea of discriminating between names that will strike most people as usable and names that will strike most people as unusable is not in her job description. Or, maybe she’s penurious and likes the idea having someone like me organize and edit her list, without paying me a penny.

Here are the 15+ Usable Names Satran Tried to Hide:

Gordon
Grey, Gray
Glenn, Glen
Otis
Ralph
Nigel
Clyde
Clifford
Harris
Finnian
Robin
Wallace
Dashiell
Montgomery
Monroe

Notice, I didn’t say these were great names, but I think you can use them without too many problems. You may think Finnian is old-fashioned or odd. But if you’re familiar with “Finnian’s Rainbow” (a great Broadway musical) you’ll probably think the name is charming and if you go for cool nicknames, Finn is a winner. I also like these nicknames: Dash for Dashiel, Cliff for Clifford, Harry for Harris, and Monty for Montgomery. BTW, it helps to know that Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery (a Brit) defeated the Germans commanded by “Desert Fox” Erwin Rommel at El Alamein.

But Clyde is cool as is.  It was made cool by Warren Beatty who played bank-robber, Clyde Barrow, in “Bonnie & Clyde” and by Walt (Clyde) Frazier of the New York Knicks who stole baskeballs the way Clyde Barrow stole money. Batman and Robin were a great team and Robin pulled his own weight. And if you’re an aficionado of single-malt scotch whiskey, it’s hard not to like the name Glen as in Glenlivet, Glenfiddich and Glenmorangie.

I probably like Grey because of Grey Advertising, Grey Goose and “Grey Gardens.” If you’re looking for a color name, Grey is more nuanced than, say, Red or Blue.  I’d use Grey if my last name started with a “G.” Grey Gordon. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?  But, to be honest, I prefer Gordon Grey. I suppose I like Gordon because it goes well with Grey, if that happens to be your last name. Grey Goldberg? Maybe not. I’d suggest Gary Goldberg, but Gary isn’t on Satran’s list.

Can you see how baby-naming is about finding exactly the right name–with the right meaning, the right sound and the right vibe? Take your time; it helps to weigh all your options over a seven or eight month period. Here’s an important take-away: Never look for names in a list created by someone who doesn’t care enough to sort out the most usable names from the least.

 

 

 

 

Pamela Redmond Satran’s Latest Post Features 62 Rarely, If Ever, Used Awful, Ridiculous Names Like Nero, Hebe and Lettice

Pamela Redmond Satran has a new trick: She starts her article about “82 Stylish names” with a list of ten girls’ names and ten boys’ names listed among Nameberry’s top 1,000 names parents have clicked on lately. I can independently confirm that a few of those names are genuinely appealing. For girls: Beatrice, Isla, Ivy, Maeve and Maisie; for boys: Beckett, Declan and Finn. (I’ve seen these names on popularity lists in the U.K., Canada and elsewhere. And Finn is on my list of Cool Names for Boys.) But, before I go on, I should probably point out a few negatives among the names Satran describes as being “atop the current style wave.”

Hazel is associated with Witch Hazel, a natural remedy for treating cuts and bruises. Unfortunately, Hazel is likely to be called Witch Hazel or teased as a “witch.” Or Hazel may be called Hazelnut or teased as a “nut,” because hazel shrubs and trees produce hazelnuts.

Jasper, in children’s literature, is an African-American boy who (stereotypically) loves to eat watermelons. It’s an unfortunate association likely to make the name uncomfortable for African-American boys. (However, in fairness, Jasper is also a type of spotted or speckled rock collected by rockhounds.)

Atticus is an ancient Latin name that means “from Attica.” As much as I love Atticus Finch, beloved protagonist of To Kill a Mockingbird, non-literary types are likely to confuse Attica with a prison in New York state that was the site of a famous riot, or junk found in the attic.

After listing ten girls’ and boys’ names clicked on by visitors to her website, Satran goes right back to her “old trick” of recommending names that are the same or similar to names she has previously described as having been used by ten or less children in the U.S. (probably because they are so awful, archaic, impractical and/or ridiculous). Here’s how she describes the names she previously described as “cool and unusual” and Satran’s colleague, Aela Mass, previously described as having been found in a cemetery by her dog:

“..here’s a new style wave on the horizon, one that parents in search of more avant garde names will want to have their eyes on. This next wave takes current styles and trends to more extreme levels.” I’ve described this process as being like “alchemy,” a faux scientific process which claimed to turn “dross into gold.” (“Dross” is what the dictionary describes as “a waste product or impurity,” or as “worthless.”)

Question: how can names that parents have abandoned and don’t use any more because they are two archaic, too esoteric, too unappealing and too impractical possibly be considered “a new style wave”? The truth is: most of them are unusable because they are awful or ridiculous names.

Awful, Ridiculous, Impractical and Rarely (If Ever) Used Girls’ Names Included in the List Satran Calls “a New Style Wave on the Horizon.”

Doon: Unfortunately, this name sounds like doom, so it will need to be enunciated very clearly to avoid sounding like a horrible prediction. Literary types familiar with Lorna Doone are likely to misspell the name by adding an “e.” Ditto for cookie lovers. Doon is likely to be called either Lorna or Cookie.

Eulalie: This antique name is a name-book neighbor of Eudora which was recommended in one of Satran’s “Cool, Unusual” articles. Unfortunately Eulalie sounds like Eudora’s crazy older sister. And Lalie as a nickname is not exactly the coolest moniker in town.

Feodora: Unfortunately, this esoteric and rarely-used name sounds so much like Theodora that it is likely to be misspelled and mispronounced—which won’t be a pleasure for the poor little girls getting this name. These are practical problems a lovely meaning (“gift of God”) can’t overcome.

Freesia: What’s Freesia? A flowering plant found in eastern and southern Africa. For non-botanists, Freesia is an unfamiliar, strange name that sounds very, very cold.

Hebe: This name was previously included in Satran’s last “Cool, Unusual Names” article. I pointed out that Hebe is a pejorative slang term for Jews (like kike). How foolish of Satran to repeat this faux pas.

Hero: Another foolish repeat from Satran’s last “Cool, Unusual Names” article. I pointed out that Hero refers not only to a brave fictional protagonist, but also to a big, thick fattening sandwich often filled with “junk meat” (bologna and salami) and a dollop of mayo. In addition to this junk-food reference, Hero is also a “pompous title” like Princess or Queen or Messiah which places a psychological burden on the unlucky child who is given one of these unrealistic names.

Kassiani: This esoteric and rarely (if ever) used name is unlisted in every name book I checked and is unlikely to ever be spelled properly by anyone but Satran (assuming she has spelled it correctly).

Lettice: This name is ridiculous for two reasons: It sounds like Lettuce (a ridiculous name for a child) but it is also likely to be misspelled by everyone but Satran. I was recently reading a book by Alexander McCall Smith which introduced a pompous character named Professor Lettuce. Smith was able to come up with three or four jokes at the expense of Professor Lettuce’s unfortunate name during a single conversation over lunch (which included salad).

Malou: Malu (with an accent over the u) is Spanish name that’s a compound of Maria + Luisa. As if that name wasn’t esoteric enough Satran recommends an even more esoteric name she probably just made up. People would recognize Marilou, but not many (if any) will recognize or “get” Malou.

Turia: This is not a new breed of dog related to terriers. Nor is it a reference tarriers (Irish workers hired to drill holes in rock where sticks of dynamite could be inserted to clear the way for American railroads–who are celebrated in a folk song called “Drill, Ye Tarriers, Drill.” This name is probably a variation on an esoteric Catalan name. It will come across as unfamiliar to one and all and will undoubtedly be misspelled by most.

Sybella: This is little-used English form of Sybil, was probably included in Satran’s list because the name Sybil was given to more than ten children.

Awful, Ridiculous, Impractical and Rarely (If Ever) Used Boys Names Included in the List Satran Calls “the New Style Wave on the Horizon.”

Acacius: Acacia is a spiny tree or shrub related to the pea family. And Acacius is a name hardly anyone but Satran will be able to either recognize, spell or pronounce properly.

Cassion: Like Acacia, Cassia are trees or shrubs related to the pea family. And Cassion is another name hardly anyone but Satran will be able to either recognize, spell or pronounce properly–particularly because it rhymes with passion, which is what most people will think the little boy named Cassion said his name was. (To Satran’s credit, she must have used great restraint in not adding Passion to this list of supposedly “stylish” names. Passion is a great name for a perfume–but not for a child.)

Enoch: It should be enough to state that Enoch sounds like eunuch, a term which describes a boy or man who has been castrated. What makes the name even worse is that famous namesake, Enoch Powell, a conservative British Politician famously opposed a law which would have prohibited racial discrimination in his infamous “River of Blood” speech.

Florin: This strange name is actually the name for several different kinds of money: a Dutch guilder, a British coin worth two shillings, and a gold coin used in Florence. It’s like calling someone Dollar, or Dime—which is why hardly anyone has or will use it as a name.

Gower: John Gower was a poet and friend of Geoffrery Chaucer. Unfortunately he’s not nearly as well-known as Chaucer, so his last name is quite unknown as a given name. That’s why Gower appears on this list of rarely, if ever, used names. (Satran passed over Geoffrey and, instead, picked the surname of Chaucer’s little-known buddy.)

Nero: I can’t claim Nero is unknown as a name; it was the name of perhaps the most cruel and inhuman emperor of Rome. Nero persecuted Christians (burning them as a source of light), executed his mother, famously “fiddled while Rome burned” and committed suicide to avoid assassination. I have no idea who would want to name their child after such a manic. Nor can I think of anyone else who would recommend the name Nero. Calling Nero a  “stylish name” is even more irresponsible and absurd.

Oberon: Oberon was the “king of the fairies” in medieval literature and in Shakepeare’s “Midsummer Nights Dream.” High school kids study Shakespeare, which is when a boy named Oberon would start to be teased, harassed and bullied. This is another example of a name that demonstrates Satran’s absolute cluelessness about the practical consequences of using the “stylish” names she so enthusiastically recommends and promotes.

Smith: Maybe Satran doesn’t know that Smith (along with Jones) are the two most common surnames in the U.S. For that reason Smith Johnson or Smith Thompson or Smith Jones will sound like hyphenated last names rather than “given names” followed by a surname. This is another practical issue that should have been obvious to Satran–if she gave it a moment’s thought.

Paladin: I remember Paladin as the name of a TV gunman played by Richard Boone in a TV show called “Have Gun Will Travel.” Historically, paladins were fierce warriors from the court of King Charlemagne. They first appeared in “The Song of Roland” whose job it was to kill the Saracen (aka Muslim) hordes. At a time when gun violence is completely out control and a huge political problem for parents who want to protect the safety of their children against untreated, mentally disturbed people who are able to buy guns in the U.S., I wouldn’t recommend a name that calls to mind the slaughter of Muslims, in the name of Christianity, and a TV show called “Have Gun Will Travel.” Would you? But by now we all know that the woman who recommends Nero also recommends the name of the TV character whose motto is “have gun, will travel.”

If you didn’t believe me when I wrote that Satran’s list of 100 “Cool, Unusual Names” “should have come with a warning,” I hope you believe me now. I find Satran’s complete disregard for practical and moral issues related to baby-naming hard to justify. I’ve praised several of her most recent  articles to demonstrate I don’t dislike Satran personally. Unfortunately, more often than hot, I find her recommendations to be irresponsible and potentially harmful to the children who will bear them. I will continue to praise her good work and condemn her irresponsible work–until she gets the message. As it happens my condemnations of her irresponsible behavior are among my most popular posts. Apparently, many readers find the names Satran (and her sidekick Aela Mass) recommend and promote both egregiously awful and laughable.

 

What Kingsley Would Tell his Wife If She Wanted To Name Their Baby Girl Beauquisha Sharice (NSFW)

Baby Name Police_imageI’m writing to announce the appointment of a comic named Kingsley, who wears a faux rabbit-fur aviator hat, as the newest member of the Baby Name Police.  He scolds people who would pick names like Beauquisha Sharice or Acsh’lye or Dashaquitra and uses language I don’t use, because I’m afraid my mother might wash my mouth out with soap.

At a time when baby-naming standards are going downhill thanks to a recent spate of weird names from Soleil Moon Frye and Gwen Stefani and weird recommendations from Nameberry, I’ve decided to expand the Baby Name Police by naming Kingsley to the force.

Though Kingsley was disappointed with the pay, he was happy to learn that a faux rabbit fur aviator hat is the official winter headgear for the force. In a secret ceremony, I taught him the secret handshake and warned him never to use it in public. I’ve asked my mother to review the Baby Name Police etiquette manual with Kingsley so the force doesn’t receive any more bad publicity for “snarky comments.” Unfortunately, I’m not a very good role model in that respect.

To listen to Kingsley’s rant, just click the play arrow.

To Prevent Bullying, Mexican State Bans “Outlandish” Names Like Scrotum, Virgin and Twitter

The state of Sonora, in Northwestern Mexico, has taken action against “name abuse” (the practice of giving children outlandish names that encourage teasing and bullying) by banning 61 names and promising to expand the list as more harmful names come to their attention.

“It’s about protecting children,” said Cristina Ramirez, the director of Sonora’s Civil Registry. “We want to make sure children’s names don’t get them bullied in school.”

Here are some of the names banned in the state of Sonora as reported by Reuters:

Technology Names: Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo, Email

Fictional Names: Harry Potter, Rambo, James Bond, Terminator, Robocop

Medical Terms: Scrotum, Circumcision, Virgin

Brand Names: Burger King, Rolling Stone, USNAVY

Historical Names: like Hitler

Parents may be influenced by the “anything goes” style of baby-naming practiced by celebrities. But if you can’t afford to send your child to school in a chauffeur-driven limousine, accompanied by a bodyguard, picking an “outlandish” name for your child is like putting a “kick me” sign on his back before he gets picked up by school bus for another hellish day.

So let’s call the practice of giving children “funny” or “outrageous” or just plain “weird” names that are likely to embarrass your child and encourage teasing or bullying what it really is: name abuse. Cristina Ramirez put her finger on the problem: children’s “outlandish” names “can get them bullied.” By her choice of language it’s clear that this is a problem that parents needlessly inflict on their children.

What kind of parents do that? People who aren’t primarily concerned about their children’s welfare. The Baby Name Police prefers handing out tickets to parents who abuse their freedom of choice to banning names, but we think a “public scold” is needed to warn parents away from ridiculous names likely to embarrass children and subject them to teasing, harassment, and bullying.