In a world where individuality is often celebrated, the journey of naming a new baby boy can sometimes take a peculiar turn. What might start as a well-intentioned quest to give a child a unique identity can sometimes spiral into a collection of terrible baby names that leave many shaking their heads in disbelief. It’s a scenario where the poor kid, right from the cradle, is bestowed with a moniker that stands far removed from what society considers to be normal names.
The instances are not few where parents named their newborns with what they believed were distinctive labels, only to join the ever-growing list of worst baby boy names that evoke more eyebrows raised than smiles. These few names, sadly, find their way into the registry each year, leaving us pondering the kind of narratives these babies born into such choices will weave in the future. Let us venture into the bewildering world of questionable naming choices, as we explore the tales and trends of the worst baby names ever recorded.
Celebrities Giving Children Unusual Names
Once the domain of the rich, famous, and apparently stupid, strange names for kids are now common for Joe and Jane Bloggs….
The list of top baby names each year usually contains the usual suspects: Emily, Lily, Sophia for the girls; Harry, Jack, Oliver and James for the boys.
At a guess, however, I’d say it’s unlikely any of the kids’ names in this feature would be winning any popularity prizes! Everyone knows about David Bowie naming his son Zowie in the Seventies, but strange names for kids – particularly for celebrity babies are nothing new. Indeed, the census records for the 18th and 19th centuries reveal children christened as King’s Judgement, Noble Fall and Cholera Plague.
Nowadays, celebrities are almost falling over themselves to give their children extreme – and original names. Take a bow: Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s daughter); Harper Seven (Beckhams) and Tigerlily Heavenly Hirana (Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence).
Ten Worst Baby Names
1. Covid/Covida: These names emerged during the pandemic, but they may carry a negative connotation given the global crisis associated with the virus.
2. Hashtag: A name inspired by the Twitter trend, it might be seen as too gimmicky.
3. Abcde (pronounced AB-si-dee): This name has appeared in the news and is generally considered overly unconventional.
4. Methuselah: While it has biblical roots, the name is associated with extreme old age.
5. Nevaeh (Heaven spelled backward): Some people see this name as a tired trend.
6. Adolf: This name carries a negative historical connotation due to its association with Adolf Hitler.
7. Osama: Similar to “Adolf,” this name has negative associations due to Osama Bin Laden.
8. Anus: This name has appeared in Denmark’s list of banned baby names due to its offensive meaning.
9. Lucifer: While it’s a name with historic and literary roots, it’s also synonymous with the devil, which can carry negative connotations.
1Ikea: Naming a child after the popular furniture store might be seen as too commercial or lacking in personal connection.
Remember, what might be considered a “worst” name in one culture might not hold the same standing in another, and the “best” names are often those chosen with love and thoughtful consideration.
But why DO parents do this to their children?
Apart from wanting to create a sense of originality, many parents think it’s fun and that it differentiates their child from others. Many work on the basis that, if their child doesn’t like their name, then they can change it when they’re older.
Worst New Zealand Baby Names
In New Zealand, for example, a judge actually made a young girl a ward of court so that she could change her name – Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii – which she hated. Also in New Zealand, names can’t start with a number, so 4Real was disallowed. The country wasn’t quite so strict on other occasions, however! However, the parents were worried it might be the worst name for their baby girl. They spent a few evenings contemplating, even considering “Heaven Spelled Backwards” or “Strawberry Rain” at one point. Finally, when the day arrived, the babies were born, and it was a big deal in the family.
US Strange Names
In the US, the freedom to choose a name is quite extensive, as evidenced by some of the very unconventional choices you mentioned like “Female”, “Lettuce”, or “Post Office”. It seems that while there might be instances where names are rejected, such as when attempting to name oneself a numeral or a punctuation mark, the threshold for what is considered “too strange” is quite high.
German Strange Names
It may not surprise you to know that the Germans are officious about baby naming. They gave birth to an initiative where other children couldn’t bear names that might invite ridicule. Names like “Olive Garden” and “Tu Morrow” were struck off the list, even if they sounded great to some adventurous parents.
Indeed, the regulation-loving Germans actually have a department that decides if names are ‘suitable’ or not! Surnames are banned as first names, so there are no baby Kohls, Schroeders or Merkels, while Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon were all rejected. Rather surprisingly, however, Speedy, Lafayette and Jazz got through the über strict Deutsch net!
Malaysia List of Undesirable Names
In 2006, Malaysia published a list of ‘undesirable’ names and, as a result, Woti (sexual intercourse), Khiow Khoo (hunchback) and Sor Chai (insane) all, thankfully, disappeared. Malaysia took strict measures to ensure names were appropriate, unlike a Reddit user who sells tacos at a gas station and decided to name his child “Job Application”. The initiative prevented names that sound like “Freaking Lasagne”, which might leave a bad impression.
European Strange Names for Babies
In Europe, the naming traditions vary greatly, with some aiming for the perfect name, while others prefer something more traditional. Some parents might even opt for names like “Harley Quinn”, considering them to be a little one’s best choice. Every now and then, you would come across someone who went to school with a person named “Diesel Duramax”.
Portugal turned down a Mona Lisa, while Ireland allowed Elvis, but rejected Carolina.
Sweden permitted Metallica, but even this liberal country said no to Brfxxccxxmnpcccdllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11166. The boy’s parents tried to give their son this name (pronounced ‘Albin’ – SERIOUSLY????) as a protest against Sweden’s strict naming laws, so that added another one to the banned list. I dread to think of the name tag that child would have needed on its sweater! The country also said no to Q, IKEA and Veranda.
The Danes are even tougher than the Swedes. When a child is born in Denmark, parents are provided with a list of 7000+ names to choose from by the government and special permission is required for a name that’s not on the list.
United Kingdom Strange Baby Names
In the UK, the approach is somewhat relaxed. People might end up with the last name “Sounds Like” or the first name “Gas Station”, showcasing a preference for names that are all good and stand out in their own right.
Regardless of all of the restrictions and limitations imposed by various countries, however, for every name that is disallowed for being potentially cruel or embarrassing, there are plenty of others that get through the net. In fact, since 1984, two UK children have been named Superman and six boys have been given the moniker Gandalf…..
Take Away on Strange Names for Babies
Many parents want to give their children names that are unique, but also don’t want the name to put them in any social or legal jeopardy. It can be hard enough just finding one appropriate name for your baby, so it’s no wonder many people choose not to bother with all the restrictions imposed by other countries around the world.
In all these cases, it seems that the naming laws strike a balance between allowing personal freedom and creativity, while also trying to prevent potential harm or distress that might come from having a highly unusual name. It’s a fascinating study of how different cultures approach the responsibility of naming a new generation!