The best and worst baby names are a fascinating insight into what people are naming their children around the world. The hottest trend in baby names today seems to be celebrity-inspired names, but other people are taking this idea to a whole new level.
The Western world is known for giving their children unique and unusual names, while other cultures are more conservative when it comes to choosing what they feel is appropriate for their child. Some parents are even going so far as to name their children after their favorite cars, alcohol or even cartoon characters. We explore the ten best and ten worst baby names around the world today.
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).
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.
Legal Restrictions on Babies Names
While in the US, there are no restrictions on what parents name their children, other countries around the world have put a definite ‘no-no’ on various names.
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! While they turned down Yeah Detroit and twins Fish and Chips, Number 16 Bus Shelter and Violence are living happily outside Wellington….!
US Strange Names
In the US, a man named Thomas Boyd Ritchie III tried to change his name to III, but was told by a court that it would be ‘inherently confusing’ and so it was rejected. Nevertheless, the US now boasts people named Female, Enamel, Lettuce, Mustard M Mustard, Mutton and Post Office. There have also been (to date) 20 people named Noun, 458 named Comma, 18 Periods and one Semicolon.
German Strange Names
It may not surprise you to know that the Germans are officious about baby naming. 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.
European Strange Names for Babies
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
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
The idea of naming a child is often an emotional and difficult decision. 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.
The country you live in might have different standards than what you’re used to when deciding if a certain name would be “suitable” or not – which could cause some confusion further down the line when trying to register birth certificates and passports.