Baby, You Give Names A Bad Name.

January 15, 2012


Did you know that certain names are illegal?  True story!  There have been numerous instances throughout the world of parents naming their children only to have the courts rule “No, that name sucks.  Try again.”  (a quote from the decision in the case of The State of Idaho vs. QuackyDuck Poopbooger*)

*Not true.  Unfortunately.

Lei, pronounced "lay." DUH.

In some cases I’d agree with this just on the principle of the abuse of the name.  I knew someone named Leisea, which induces a bit of an eye-roll right there, but every time someone innocently asked something like, “Hm, is it pronounced ‘Ly-see-uh’?”  She’d act all exasperated and say,  “Tch.  (long sigh) Uh, it’s pronounced just like it’s spelled?  ‘Lacy’?”  If that’s your name, you’re going to be explaining it.  If you’re going to get huffy, I’m getting the courts involved.

In other cases I could see a temporary embargo.  At the pace we’re going, the U.S. is going to be about 42%  Kaitlyn’s and Taylor’s in a few years.

But there are cases of names actually being ruled illegal.  In countries like Norway, and Portugal, apparently, there are government registries of acceptable names.  Germany has an entire department (the Standesamt) in charge of names (quick show of hands: who’s shocked that Germany has very specific opinions about which names are and are not acceptable?  Anyone?  Don’t be shy!).

Just keep doing it, honey! Mummy has a lot riding on this!

Specific examples, though?

Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii.  In 2008 this 9-year-old New Zealand girl was taken into court custody so they could change her name.  Arguably, this name would in fact do more damage than being removed from the home by the court.

Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlb11163.  1991, Sweden. Possibly would have been worth it if you could record the faces of every teacher on the first day of school when they call roll.

Dear Pineapple.  The Dominican Republic blew it on this one. Not only does this name make you happy to say, it’s the little-known original title of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence.” (Also, untrue.  Also, unfortunately.)

Oh. This is your son? Re... Really? I have to admit, this complicates things...

Devil.  1993, Japan.  Okay, you’re an atheist. We get it.  Wouldn’t you think though, as a parent, you’d be interested in avoiding a name that is just begging for years of problem behavior?

And there are many, many others.  UFO, Anus, Smelly Head (all true examples)…  and this being Sunday, that brings us inexorably to this week’s Weekly Question of the Week question of the week for January 14, 2012!  So, should courts be able to declare certain names illegal?  And, if so, which ones would you propose for the banned list?


Photo Credits:

  1. “Lei,” by Limetom, flickr.
  2. “Hula Girl Near Bouquet,” by Dan Zen, flickr.
  3. Image from Legend, property of 20th Century Fox.
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About The Byronic Man

Recently voted "The Best Humor Site in America That I, Personally, Write," The Byronic Man is sometimes fiction, but sometimes autobiography. And sometimes cultural criticism. Oh, and occasionally reviews. Okay, it's all those different things, but always humorous. Except on the occasions that it's not. Ah, geez. Look, it's a lot of things, okay? You might like it, is the point.

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35 Comments on “Baby, You Give Names A Bad Name.”

  1. Curly Carly Says:

    Great post! I think the courts should absolutely be able to ban certain names. If a name is going to cause the kid painful embarrassment, I don’t see how that’s any different than emotional abuse. It would be easier if some people just didn’t have kids though, but that’s another topic altogether.


  2. madtante Says:

    I think the children will come up with their own names. They do anyway–if they don’t like their name.


  3. Olivia K Says:

    I actually know a Talula. Have always felt sorry for her. I can’t really say much, though, I named my son Tayen (a name with arguably too many vowels and not enough masculinity). In first grade he got 100% on his spelling test with words like “reliable” and “barrier.” Unfortunately, at the top of the page, he spelled his own name wrong. He goes by TJ now.


  4. becomingcliche Says:

    I think most celebrities need to be supervised when naming their children. And the Kardashians would do well to explore a different letter of the alphabet.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Yeah, when you’re surrounded by people who’s livelihood depends on saying that every stupid thing you do is genius, it’s bad enough what you’ll do to your own life, but someone should probably step in when a child gets involved.


  5. Life in the Boomer Lane Says:

    My daughter-in-law teaches in SC. There are a lot of creative names there. One popular name for girls is La-ah (pronounced Ladasha). I suggested La!ah. That would be cool, as well.


  6. angrymiddleagewoman Says:

    In school I knew a girl name Shanita. Her closest friend called her “Shanita New-name”. Give it a minute – you’ll get it.

    By the way my vote is yes, there are times the courts shoud interfere and also celebrities should have to surrender their right to name their own offspring when they become famous.


  7. thesinglecell Says:

    It’s hard to know when there’s a line crossed between something stupidly made up (Lemonjello, Orangello, Aquanetta, La-ah) and something that’s obviously been created to make a point (the entire family in NJ named for Third Reich figures, for example). I get pissed when people take their little kids to political protests and make them wear shirts or hold signs espousing a belief they cannot possibly have formed by the age of four. To name them something without caring what it will do to their future is just cruel.


  8. H.E. ELLIS Says:

    My ex-husband’s family is from eastern Europe and he has a girl’s first name, two middle names and is the twenty-fourth in a line of men who have his surname. He believes this qualifies as child abuse. Based on the childhood beat downs I’m inclined to agree.


  9. Hamza Says:

    I don’t have much of a say in the matter, do I? Considering my name and all… How’s that spelled again? Hams-oh? Hum-zuh? But a sense of uniqueness has its benefits…


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      Well, but unique or unusual certainly doesn’t equal “bad.” Your name sounds like a superhero or a little-known breed of shark.

      “The Hamza shark can detect prey from almost a full mile away,” the narrator says quietly…


  10. susielindau Says:

    I kinda like Quaky duck poopbooger. It has a nice ring to it! Hahaha! Too funny!


  11. lexy3587 Says:

    “Latrina” A woman I know has had a number of students over the years who were stuck with that name. She didnt’ have the heart to tell them just what a latrine is, other than a ‘pretty sounding word’ their parents named them after.
    So many students get to highschool and, on the first day of school, make the rounds of all the teachers they have that term, point out their given name on the attendance, and say, “call me (a more easily pronounced name)” No-one really enjoys having to correct people constantly about how to pronounce their name.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      True. Then you get the other end of the spectrum: the “Sarah’s” and “Tom’s” who assert their adolescent identity by insisting that it’s “Sarah with 3 S’s” or “Tom with a silent 5 in the middle.”


  12. MJ, Nonstepmom Says:

    I have to give credit for La-ah…… anyway…..I knew a couple who named their baby Aniken (atter Aniken Skywalker ) after the 4th Star Wars movie came out. Many people tried to convince them to change it but they did not believe us that this was Darth Vader in the next movie (see, reading the books pays off!)…that’s as close I’ve seen to being named after the devil.


  13. pithypants Says:

    I assume you saw the article this week about the adult who was arrested for marijuana possession? That wasn’t the noteworthy part. It was that he legally changed his name to “Beezow Doo-Doo Zopittybop-Bop-Bop” in October. I’m more shocked that he chose “Doo Doo” as a middle name than that he was arrested for possession.


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      I’d have thought simply changing his name to that would be grounds to arrest him for drug possession. “If you’ll just sign here, that makes it your legal name… aaaaand you’re under arrest.”


  14. gojulesgo Says:

    Hahaha… oh, man. Now THIS is a great question. I definitely think ‘names’ like that Swedish one should be outlawed, along with curses/racial slurs, etc.

    I think I already commented about this to Renee (Teachers and Twits) a while back, but my mom works in a doctor’s office, and one of the best names she’s seen is Vii.

    …Pronounced ‘Seven.’


    • The Byronic Man Says:

      That’s obnoxious. You know he gets all snippy about “Do people not even know their roman numerals?”


    • Nicole Says:

      One of the international students from China at my college picked her English name to be Eleven. Another one went for Cherry. Both of them thought that they had chosen really popular American names. It makes me wonder about how many of our strange name choices make it into class discussions of people learning English abroad.


      • The Byronic Man Says:

        I’m trying to figure out where that’d come from… Ocean’s 11? 13 from House? Wasn’t there a character on one of the Star Trek’s named “7 of 9”?

        I hope someone told the other girl that, yes, there are American girls called Cherry, but they tend to on stages without clothes on.


  15. PCC Advantage Says:

    I’m pretty sure that “Adolf Hitler” should be on the banned names list. In fact, I think it actually is. There was a family a year or so ago that tried to name their baby that, and the courts deemed it as an “inappropriate” name.

    Poor little Adolf cried so hard that night that his mustache fell off.



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