How To: Name Your Baby

baby nameSo, I know my name is Cappy, and that might confuse some people. It might make other people angry that I’m writing a post about naming children when it seems that my parents named me under a haze of marijuana smoke and black lights. (Surprisingly enough, they didn’t. To get the full story behind my name, click here.) But I, an extremely opinionated and slightly grumpy blogger, figured I had something to say, so I might as well say it. Listen up, and save the crazy names for middle names.

1. Don’t give your kid a bizarre-noun-name. There’s nothing worse (or easier to make fun of) than a kid named after a tree (Aspen is alright, Birch is not).
Girl Examples: Harp, Cedar, Dream, Muse, Petri.
Boy Examples: Wrangler, Trick, Track, Cannon, Knight.
Exceptions include: Joy, Hope, Iris, May, June, Daisy. Don’t get too exotic with your flowers…your kid shouldn’t be named Hibiscus or Anthurium. There are no exceptions for boys except maybe August. Maybe.

2. Avoid names of continents, countries or cities.
Girl Examples: Africa, Europe, Italy, Wales (that one’s for more reasons than one).
Boy Examples: Scotland, Denmark.
Exceptions: There are a lot of exceptions. One of my sorority sisters is named Britain and I think that’s delightful. Someone else I know is named Sicily. But don’t call them Zimbabwe or Seattle or something, cuz that just sounds weird…and sounds like you’ve decided any word that exists can be a name.

3. Don’t turn your girl-child into a stripper. You shouldn’t be allowed to name your kid Chastity, because even if she’s the most chaste girl in the world, everyone will think she’s a dirty tramp.
Girl Examples: Verity, Charity, Trinity, Cinnamon (fun fact: I had a hamster named Cinnamon. Yep, just ruined it for you).
Boy Examples: Well, don’t name your boy after a girl stripper, cuz that’s just wrong. And don’t name him Magic Mike.
Exceptions: There are no exceptions.

4. Don’t go all Gwyneth Paltrow on your kid.
Girl Examples: Apple, Orange, Banana, Pear, Peanut, Flute, Lute…the list goes on.
Boy Examples: Rocket, Explosive, Banjo, Guitar, Picolo.
Exceptions: If Gwyneth Paltrow wouldn’t like it, you can use it.

5. You are not a flower child, and neither is your one-second-old baby.
Girl Examples: Wind, Flower, Breeze, Whisper, Peace, Love, Mist.
Boy Example: Random, Earth, Strength, Virility, Rain.
Exceptions: Skye might be acceptable, but only if they grow up to be super awesome.

6. Never, EVER, name your child after where they were conceived. Ever.
I met a girl named Kastle once and she said it was because right before she was born her parents went to this Italian castle and stayed there and loved it…I guarantee they did the don’t in there and she is the product of their sordid night on a bed made of stone. Don’t do it.
On another note, don’t tell your kid where they were conceived. 

7. After I’ve said all this, try not to name your kid the same thing as everyone else they’ll grow up with. It’s annoying growing up and being known as “Morgan F” because there are 5 other Morgans in your class. I’m not going to give examples, because they’re so obvious. Also, I feel like I’m going to offend everyone I know if I do.

Of course, there are a million exceptions and I’m a jerk about names, but a great rule of thumb is DO NOT NAME YOUR CHILD ANYTHING SARAH PALIN WOULD NAME HERS. Except Piper, cuz that’s cute.

232 thoughts on “How To: Name Your Baby

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  1. But do, please, remember to name your child something! I’ve taught too many “Baby Girl” Fergusons, or “Baby Boy” Jacksons. That’s just mean spirited.

    1. Exactly! I’m keeping my future daughter’s name simple, her first name will be after my grandmother Katherine. Now as for a middle name, it’ll be either Azalea or something else. Still working on that one. My aunt gave me my middle name, Cha-Von. Don’t ask why there is a hyphen between it, and there is a tilda over my a, in which my keyboard is not able to make that character. It’s pronounced Shayvon, in Spanish Shyvon. Don’t ask!

    1. Fun fact: Forrest Whitaker, the actor has children named. Sonnet (like the Shakespeare poems), Autumn, Ocean, and True. O_0

      1. I like the story about your friend named after an Italian castle. They spelled it “Kastle”…??? Seriously? I don’t think those people were actually in Italy. Maybe the Italian part of Epcot.

  2. Hey great post right there! I am following you now, if you want to know about Ocean Paddling follow us back! Cheers!

  3. I love naming posts. :) I named my kids specifically to avoid having to use the last initial in school. It happened to me and I hated it. :/ I tried to balance recognizable and easy-to-spell with relatively uncommon (Tessa and Ivy). Tho I suspect if I moved to the UK I’d have a problem. :)

  4. I’m all for number 7. My name is very common and my middle name is Lynn, it’s not exactly a name you can go by. To top it all off, my best friend has the EXACT same name as me, first and middle. If we were ever talking someone just HAD to yell our name for the purpose of seeing us both turn around.

    1. Great post and can’t stand the funky re-spellings!!! Yikes, don’t parent’s care that their kid will 1. ALWAYS have to spell their name for people and 2. won’t ever get to buy a little knife or keychain or pen with their name on it? Kids love those things at the beach, paying way more than they are worth for them…so sad to be left out :).

    2. I looked for a name for a combination barber and phrenologist for my historical medical thriller COTTER. I agonized for days and weeks and finally hit upon a sure fire source for names – the movie credits. At the end of one 2003 movie I saw a last name – Pignatz. I now needed a first name and I found it in the credits for stuntmen – Mortimer. Mortimer PIgnatz, he could be named nothing else. You want names go to the move credits of any film even a cartoon. Cartoons have staff with names like Magruger Pontoon. I love it. Go for it.

      1. That’s actually such an amazing idea, and for my next story I am ABSOLUTELY going to do that!! Thanks for the tip, and Mortimer Pignatz is a pretty awesome name, ill tell you that :)
        Also, WC fields was the master of naming, and I really enjoy watching his films simply for that reason. (Plus he’s amazing)

        1. I’ve even involved one of my grandchildren with my name selections. My granddaughter calls me in to the TV room when a movie is ended and the movie credtis begin to scroll. Both of us pick out unique names, unusual names, funny names – whatever my book calls for. Last names can become first names and vice versa. It’s one way to get the kids into literature early. And it’s fun.

  5. We call my son Cappy as a nickname… his real name is Captain. I know its a cutesy same for a boy but I promise I thought this one through! It will be great in high school whether he’s athletic or artistic, it’ll be great in his 20’s for picking up on girls, and in his sunset years it’s got authority!

    1. I’m named after my great grandfather, who was called Cappy because he was the “captain of their house” according to my grandmother, so I LOVE your son’s name :)

  6. Don’t name your kid after any fantasy movie character….. In Sweden they are big on names from Lord of the rings and Hobbit… There is a bunch of little Aragorns running in the kindergarden next door

      1. Well, it’s actually said… what is even more sad is that in the newspaper that my husband just brought home it said that the man wanted to call his son Hitler OR (!!!!!) His Majesty.. both names were denied by the municipality,,, imagine that poor child growing up

  7. Pretty much avoid naming your kid anything a celebrity would name their kid. Two classic examples stick out to me:
    – Kal-El (after Superman’s Kryptonian name) Cage
    – Moxie Crimefighter Jillette

  8. I actually like my name – my mother and father apparently had trouble reaching agreement because she wanted an unusual name and he wanted a common, recognizable one. Melanie was uncommon in Britain, where Mom was from, and common in my father’s home state of Texas. My middle name – another Lynn – was my brother’s contribution…his kindergarten crush.
    I’m with you on the flower thing. My nephew, whose last name is Lilly, ALMOST named his first child Azalea. Thank God he changed his mind. Also with you on the weird spellings, guaranteeing that the kid’s name will always be misspelled – that could lead to identity issues! Thanks for the fun post, and congrats on being FP!

  9. Avoid band names, particularly if it’s one named for a geographical area. Or if the group just plain sucks or if you liked them before deciding on a change in direction that ruins them (I feel sorry for all the wee Bonos running around).

    1. Hehheh. I can totally imagine all of those one direction fans just gasping in horror at the true band names rule.

  10. I like the geography tip. I reaaaaaaally wanted to name my daughter for a Spanish village (next door to the one my husband’s family is from). But it would sort of be like living in Springfield and naming your kid Shelbyville. Ixnayed. Boo.

  11. When I was younger, I imagined different names like clothes, an outward expression of substance: that’s right, world – here I am as a Joe or Jim or (the appropriate versions thereof) – now you must acknowledge it. But then, apart from heroes and those observations of how children’s names affected their financial success, I finally settled on a name being like a sort of convenient assignor, like how pink ice cream is strawberry and green potions are poison. A convention of the times: we all must have names. But the newspapers, if we find ourselves in them, shall call us by our last names.

  12. It was very common for people to call their daughters Victoria or Charlotte at the time I was born, and almost everyone I was in class with at school their middle name is Elizabeth, the same as me, and I know at least another 6 Victoria’s, all going by Vicky (myself included) and all my age.

    Mum didn’t do it on purpose, I was named after her best friend, and my brother is Daniel Tal, I think he was named after a song, but he has my dad’s middle name too which is a family name from Wales.

  13. Congrats on being freshly pressed. I have grown up with an odd geography based name China, but at least I have a good answer for how I got it. It was the 60’s. Keep up the good work.

  14. Good advice! I’d add not to name your child after a child serial killer like Chucky either. My kid isnt a Chucky, but we learned the hard way! lol.

  15. If I ever have a boy I want to name him Thor. Everyone else I know tells me NO! In my defense… the kid will probably be very tall and blond and I think it’s a cool name.
    Lemme guess…. everyone else is right, right?

  16. Best steer well clear (for males) of first names such as Peregrine, Horatio, Hereward, Claudius, Percival, Clarence, Simeon and suchlike. They won’t survive school; if by chance they escape, they’ll still be scarred for life… (mind you, ‘Rolling’ isn’t such a great name either!)

  17. Great blog. This should be given out by OBGYNs to every expecting mother. A friend of mine once told me “Name your kids something you can yell down the street. Name your kid a name that sounds good on an adult. Name your kid a name that won’t sound bad in the bedroom. Name you kids a name that they can one day have as a CEO of a large company. Pixie,, Candi, Bunny, Danger and Rocket might get passed over. And make sure your child doesn’t have popular dog name like King, Brandi, Brody, Max, Pumpkin, or Oscar. All great names but there are a lot of dogs and cats with those names.” Thanks again for the laugh AND common sense.

    1. Well, since I am now an authority on this subject, I’d say you slid by (just barely) because it’s her middle name, so she won’t have to explain it to everyone she meets.

  18. Great advice! in the ‘olden’ days in Ireland, the first boy was called after his paternal grandfather, the second boy after the maternal grandfather, and so on, though that seems to have fallen away now.

    1. my name Shelah is a misspelled Irish spelling…pronounced she…la Irish spelling Sheelah also pronounced she…la. my dad and the vet- who delivered me at home-, were pretty celebrated by the time they got around to filling out my birth certficate, so the missing ‘e’ remained missing….makes it hard to find plastic license plates from disney land or sparkly pencils with my name of it….

  19. One of the names I like is on your list, but it’s under the exceptions…

    Also, I knew a girl named Britaine (Brittany,) who said that her name was spelled like that because she was conceived in Britain.

  20. My dad, who’s a rabbi, wanted to name me Bosmat if I was a girl. The name means “spice” in Hebrew and is very pretty…in Israel. My mom, who is also a rabbi, tried to talk to my dad about it, but he wouldn’t budge. Which is why she enlisted the help of my dad’s family to get him to stop. Sure enough, they tore into him, and he gave up the idea for eternity (thank goodness for my 3 younger biological sisters, Adi, Maya, and Liat).
    As for what I’d name my kids…I don’t know about boy names, but I’ve always loved the name Nina for a girl.

  21. Ok thanks for some tongue in cheek advice. As for the flower thing: it depends on the family’s cultural origin. Orchid is a popular Chinese traditional name for girls. So myself and sisters have the Chinese middle name which translates to this flower.

    My additional advice: don’t name your baby after a current popular movie star. I think I was.. I have yet to meet Generation X, Y with my first name.

    1. I love the name orchid, and cultural significance is always a factor and I love when people go back to their roots when naming. :)

  22. I agree on all of the points you mentioned but especially on the common name thing. I have one of the most common girl name in my country. I have always had one or more namesakes in my class. So when a new Ritu joined in, I was given the option to choose between ‘Old Ritu’ or ‘Big Ritu’. I chose Ritu K but not everyone followed rules :)
    I will definitely choose a very unique name for my child

  23. So funny! I know someone who named her daughter after Inara from the show, ‘Firefly.’ It is a pretty name, but the character on the show was a ‘companion.’ I just hope her future classmates don’t find out about where the name came from and tease her about it!

  24. My mother was named O’Deal and her sister Viona. Viona went by “Dutch” her entire life. My mother’s name gave rise to “Big Deal.” by my unkind, smart alec uncle (her brother). My grandmother’s friends and relatives gave her so much kidding over their names, that her last two children were Bill and Mary. We tried to give our children plain names. Surprisingly, those names turned out to be not so common. I work at a law firm, and it is surprising how many unusual names we come across…especially younger people.

    Don’t give your child a name which requires them to spell it over the phone. That can lead to all kinds of errors. Over the phone it is hard to distinguish f from s; d from t; v from b; n from m, etc. When I call in names, I have to often say N for Nancy, M for Mike, etc.

  25. Also, don’t name your kid something that a five year old cannot pronounce. Kindergarten becomes hell. HELL, I say.

  26. My name was uncommon when I was born, but became popular soon after (I am nothing if not a trend setter). When we became pregnant, my husband decided he wanted something honoring his Israeli and Yemenite heritage. Every name he chose, I was forced to veto. They all included a sound that only the Arab-speaking world uses… and we live in Washington, DC. They all sounded a bit like, well… go to KFC, get a chicken. Eat the chicken. Now, take a bone, and shove it down your throat. That sound you’re making as you choke? That’s it.

    HOW DO YOU DO THAT TO A CHILD?! So we named him after my grandfather. A somewhat common name, but deeply significant to me: Max.

  27. A famous boxer-turned-politician in our country named their daughter, “Queen Elizabeth”.
    Honestly, I was even thinking of “Anakin” for my future baby boy. And my husband wanted “Obi Wan.” When we were arguing which one is better, that’s the time I realized we were both being ridiculous.
    Great post and congratulations on being FP. :)

  28. When my ex wife and I found out that we were having a daughter, we scrambled to find a name because we knew It was one of those things that we would probably never really agree on. Now, the names we saw that people invented? ‘wow’ were they ever mind boggling!

  29. There’s a kid in my school named Doctor. Can you imagine the confusion if he actually becomes one?

    There was a girl in my wife’s school named Tragedy. Why would anyone do that?

    1. And then there’s the kid who came in this year whose first name and surname are the same. At least teachers won’t be able to express their displeasure at him by calling him by his surname.

  30. I loved your post, I think the worst is when they name them pet names! You know when you see a name and think that my cat’s name… Granted my name is Nathalia but that is like natalie in Brazil (where I’m from) so I do have an excuse…

  31. As someone who was given an obscure name, the name of a village in England and possibly a battleship depending on who you believe. I agree with the above. Having to repeat yourself each and every time you are introduced to someone and having to explain the origins and pronunciation (which everyone gets wrong despite this) is tedious in the extreme. Growing up I thought being called Jane must be fantastic. I now have a love hate relationship with my name. Think carefully!
    PS in case you are wondering its Veryan pronounced Vareeann

  32. that was an excellent thoughts on ‘naming your baby’..really never knew there were such kind of names available..haven’t heard of it :) well one more thing..each baby names will also be based on the country that they are from..for eg: i am an indian and indians name their kids like anita, sunita etc.. when they got tired of all these common names, they started adopting the english names and i don’t know what will they adopt next..anyways i got a vague idea of how name a baby :)

  33. I love article like this. I haven’t got kids, but it blows my mind how some parents can’t see past the cuteness of the newborn baby to realize that he or she is going to grow up and people are going to have to take them seriously. I know that new parents getting “baby crazy” is normal, but its no excuse for a lack of forethought when naming kids.

    One thing that cracks me up completely is when black people give their kids some oddly spelled name and say it’s a traditional African name. Two questions:

    Africa’s a big place with a lot of ethnic, theological and social divisions; do you really think everyone there names their kids along similar lines?

    Your exposure to people from Africa with traditional names is pretty minimal, isn’t it?

    I’ve met many people from various parts of Africa and never have I met one who had a name even remotely resembling those examples of “traditional” African names.

  34. Other rules are:
    don’t name your baby after punctuation marks such as @ or symbols such as this ©. Been there, seen that.
    don’t name your baby after articles of daily use, such as satchel.
    Also just translating something weird into a foreign language doesn’t make it any less weird.

    Thanks for that post and the fun fact :D

  35. This is a great post!

    In Japan, sometimes western names sound funny.

    For example,
    “Deb” sounds like the Japanese word for “fat”!
    “Chuck” sounds like the Japanese word for “zipper”!
    The Hollywood actress Uma Thurmon is called Yuma in Japan … because noone wants to call her “horse”.
    And Mick Jaggar’s name sounds like the name of a meat and potato dish in Japan.

    Anyway … please visit my blog too

  36. I broke two rules at once, naming my daughter after a city, where she was (likely) conceived. It was either Vienna or Budapest. Which would you have chosen??! She’s happy with it, and we have met several other Viennas over the years.

  37. Either something very dramatic has happened with this post/your blog, or you’ve been freshly pressed… either way, congratulations!

    And I named my daughter Shotgun Barbecue ReadTheByronicMan.Com Clements. That’s not weird is it?

    1. I think that’s an absolutely gorgeous name for a child…I’m planning on naming mine Pickles LadybirdJohnson McGee when I finally pop one out…but I think you’ve got me beat!
      And thank you!!! I’m so excited :) and I appreciate that you’ve been reading for a while :)

  38. After much deliberation, the Phonyon staff would submit this addendum: “Don’t make up a custom spelling, e.g. Typhani.” The consensus is that this is a warning sign of questionable parenting skills, and at a minimum adds a lifetime of complication to the child’s daily interactions.

  39. I remembered, my aunt once told me that I was suppose to be named ‘Trinity Maxine’, which were derived from my grandmum’s name ‘Trinidad’ and my grandpa’s name ‘Maximo’. Honestly, I don’t like the name at all, especially ‘Trinity’. I’m thankful that my parents changed my name, and for the better.

  40. You’re forgetting some stripper names: luxury car models. A girl named Mercedes or Lexus will become a stripper. I’ve also never met an Amber who wasn’t currently paying for her groceries with a stack of crinkled, sweaty ones. That’s not a car model, just an observation. Then there are people who just start making sh*t up. I have a cousin who named her boys Trevin and Kaden (though, since then I have heard of other Kadens) and her daughter Hannahlynn. Not Hannah Lynn. Hannalynn. Sounds like lanolin. Yet they call her Hannah. What was the point? That’s my one rule, name the kid what you’re actually going to call them. If you’re going to call him Dave, just name him Dave. If you name him David, call him David. I have a personal confession, though, I desperately want to name a daughter “Frankie.”

  41. I love having a unique name.. to this day I have never met anyone with my name. As a kid I remember going through a phase of wanting a common name because I couldn’t buy stuff with my name printed at it in gift shops… I grew out of it and now love my name :)

  42. A superb post indeed! On the name thing, two of my nephews have unique names, which at first I thought “What?!” – but as they’ve grown, they’ve revealed themselves to both be unique characters and now I couldn’t imagine either having a “normal” name as they’re so perfectly named, so sometimes playing slightly outside the “guidelines” pays off!

  43. I know former classmates who named their children Cedar Springs Eternal, Seraphim Blackrose, and River Pilot. It’s painful.

    1. River Pilot? What on earth? I have friends—a mother and daughter—named Destiny and Serenity. And I thought *those* were bad. Oh, and I know a kid named Oceana. (Her parents like scuba diving.) Poor things!

  44. guilty– I love the name Verity. I probably won’t use it but I had to confess that “Code Name Verity” made me like the name! oops!

  45. The Italian tradition is to name a son after their grandfather. Except you end up with the stereotypical scenario where all of your male relatives are named either Peter, or Paul, or Joseph (Joe). My middle name is Alfred and people constantly asked me if I liked cleaning the Bat Cave. So named as a compromise between my mother and grandmother. I wish my grandfather didn’t change his name, which was originally Fidelli, to Alfred as then I could say my name means loyalty.
    I pose a thought: In this day and age why should people be constrained by traditional names? I’ve noticed too many old-fashioned concepts are being thrown out, yet many are kept.

  46. Great post! We had a great one here in NZ a few years back, A young girl called ‘Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii’ was put under court guardianship so they could legally change her name for her as she was so embarrassed. Then there are the ones that sneak through … apparently there are some twins somewhere called Benson and Hedges. Go figure!

  47. I have a weird name so I can’t reeaaally talk (and mine WAS the product of stupid young parents), but I love weird names and keep having jobs where they come across my desk. One of the worst things I’ve heard of is using pronounced punctuation. What the hell is that? Well, take the name Le-a. You might think it should be ‘Leah’, but no, it’s… ‘Ledasha’. Yup.

      1. I’m a Maureen, and I have always liked it. I was the only Maureen in school which was nice. My kids: WIlliam and Daniel. Everyone can spell their names, and it;s easy to find “stuff” with their names…..cups, pencils, license plates for the bikes and Christmas ornaments. Found you on FP congrats on that!

    1. Tell him that if she’s even a little bit overweight, everyone will call her Trillian pound Trillian.
      That should nip it in the bud.

          1. Ohhh I see!
            Well good luck with that too though! I know it can be quite the process. Cheers :)

  48. Love love love this. I also hate it when people name their kid a pretty normal name and then insist on spelling it weird. No one is impressed with your creativity, o mother of Jawn and Mehree.

    Congrats on your third FP!

  49. I’m not a mom but I have an adopted cat. She came to me bearing the name “Jet”. I hate that name but it was weird to change it. Would prefer the name lick-o-rish (she’s black) or Cricket…or believe it or not, “Gwyneth Paltrow”. No rules for cat names unless they are boring!

  50. Kastle is wonderful! it is not “Public Toilet”, “Four Post bed” or “Bear Skin Rug”! More than strange names I dislike normal names with obscure spelling. No one should have to spell out their name should it be Sarah or Jasmine. I named my daughter Autumn, and for no other reason than her being born in the glorious season. Should I be lucky enough to procreate a second time I would not hesitate to call them Temperance. Boy OR girl. In hope of suppressing gluttonous genes. =D
    Do you approve Cappy? I fear you may be critical of unusual names as a response to yours. Which I think is lovely by the way! Something about well adjusted adults having survived their parents overbearing pride/self importance that I find very alluring.

  51. Your post stirs memories . I knew a family who named all their kids after cities in Texas , because the wife’s father, a Texan , insisted on it . Another family named all their kids with names beginning with W . They had 11 kids — try that ! I knew two twins with the same name , first , middle , and last . You need a few more rules , eg. don’t make an idiotic rule how you’ll name you kid — and then have loads of them .

  52. This post is too funny and too true. I will never understand why people choose certain names for their children! Congratulations on Freshly Pressed, by the way :)

  53. Ohh i had a chuckle at this.
    Naming children is terrifying. There’s pressure. Like naming a dog…it scares me.
    With that said I would never name my child the same as i’d name my dog…I don’t think…I hear hormones can do things to you…
    Anyway, I wonder if people forget that names are permanent??
    Great post! Thanks for the laugh :)

  54. Thanks for this – I’ll pass it on to my sister (who also has a weird/different name) so that when she gives birth next month she can choose a name wisely. Right now she’s aiming for something unique… hmmm…

  55. This is so timely as my cousin is going to have a Baby next month! Thank you for these very useful guides. It’s easy to get carried away when a new baby is underway, so thanks again for reminding us of the importance of baby naming and how it will help define their personality in the future.

  56. Great post, I absolutely would love to meet a guy called Explosive though, I cannot imagine anything cooler than that lol! Having begun writing a sci fi novel over the past while I’ve spent a fair amount of time on baby naming sites when naming my characters, so your post is very timely and very funny :)

    Thanks for sharing and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!


  57. I grew up hating my name — Caitlin — as no one had it. Now every 2 yr old has it, but spelled in utterly bizarre ways. I was going to be named Siobhan (pron. Shi-vahn) which is gorgeous but hopelessly difficult for most people. I was also going to be called India, which I love. I actually like my name a lot, as I’m a writer and people remember it.

    The problem of naming your baby for a borough is that Brookyln is now a cliche — and you really do not want to call your child Staten Island, Bronx, Queens or Manhattan…

    Great post and congrats on being FPed.

  58. But Verity is a lovely name. It’s only ever made me think of nice, polite, reserved, and genuinely warm-hearted girls, never ever strippers. I do agree with some of your points; knowing that everywhere I went I’d meet another Rachel made me really HATE the name throughout my late teenage years, and I’m only sort-of OK with it now because I’ve forced myself to put up with it.

    On other hand, and I really don’t mean any harm or offence, but I do think it must take a lot of strength, self-confidence, and self-assurance to be able to live happily with a name like Cappy. I just don’t think I’d be strong enough to live with it myself.

    1. No offense taken, but how do you mean? Like, it’s so unusual?
      I hated it as a kid when everyone thought I was saying “Cathy” or called me crappy, but I’ve come to appreciate it, as my family loved the man I am named after very much.
      But I appreciate the compliment…I think I’m pretty strong and self assured too haha.

  59. Love the post! My daughter, whose surname is Bowman, gets irritated when people insist that she reveal the name they are choosing for their soon-to-be-born son. She’s found the perfect straight-faced response, “We can’t decide between Archer or Hunter.”

  60. Another tip from experience: if you adopt a child with a weird name, start calling him/her by your chosen name at a young age even before the adoption is finalized, if necessary. Ignoring this hint is how my son has ended up using his given name, Bersain…

  61. This post made me think of my coworker, who named his sons Rocket and Atlas. I’ve yet to pluck up the courage and ask him how the hell he decided to take that naming route. Really great and humorous post!

  62. If you want to be original then don’t name your kid after a song!
    I was named after Marillion’s “Kayleigh” and I hate that it was so unoriginal! haha!

    I really enjoyed this post though :D

  63. Great post and good job on the freshly pressed. I was one of probably 10-20 Katies/Katherines in my high school graduating class. I’ve become so accustomed to the “Hey Katie”… “Hey”… “No, the other Katie”… routine that I’ve pretty much stopped responding to my name… oops. My kids (waayyyyy in the future) will definitely have less common names.

    1. I definitely did not have that! I was one of two Katie’s in my year, and the other girl was in the college stream and I was in the university stream…! So no real problems for me…

  64. I would add this: Don’t name your child with 2 names (Edith Chrystal) and then call her by a nickname of her middle name. It makes the 1st day of school miserable (“Edith?” “Here, but I go by Chrysti” “Huh? How do you get Chrysti out of Edith??”).

  65. Excellent rule set. My daughter is named “Esme” after a few literary characters (not twilight; Salinger/Gaddis for anyone that cares), and we followed a filtering process similar to yours to reach it. Her name fits her which is the most important thing. Your name seems to fit you as well, but then there’s the argument that a person becomes their name and those who cannot become their name or are not named properly are relegated to nickname identification.

  66. ‘Virility’? HA! Your post made me giggle from the get go, i was laughing out loud by halfway through, and frantically searching for the ‘follow’ button by the end. A very worthy freshly pressed post, so glad I came across it and you. Congratulations!

  67. I have some friends—a couple—who are really into scuba diving. When their first daughter arrived? Oceana. Yup, that’s right. OCEANA. And her middle name isn’t much better: Josephine. To this day, most of their friends (myself included) can hardly stand to call the poor little girl by her own name… You give a lot of good tips. No countries? Okay. No stripper names? Check. I wish more pregnant people would read this post!

  68. “You shouldn’t be allowed to name your kid Chastity, because even if she’s the most chaste girl in the world, everyone will think she’s a dirty tramp”. I am dying!!!!

  69. Also make sure you say the first name with the last. I wanted to name my son Jack… until my hubby reminded me to say it with our last name, Hess- say that fast- Jack Hess — mmmm – no good!!

  70. I named my first daughter Lucy, because i like it and also because she was conceived during a holiday in Barbados – we were staying in the parish of St.Lucy.
    Is that very sad?

  71. Very cool. I teach English, so I’m all about analyzing the meaning of names. I’m also a writer, so when I choose a name for a character, I put almost as much thought into the name as I put into naming my children. I love music. My parents named me after one of their favorite singers, Teresa Brewer. I don’t know a thing about her. Odd that I should take her name.

    And because I just loooooove analyzing names, I have on numerous occasions looked up the meaning of my name.


    Well, isn’t that special. Or grim. However, you wish to look at it.

    Great post! I enjoyed it. Congrats on being freshly pressed.

  72. Just the other day, my coworkers and I were (casually) naming our future children after the printers at the office. Konica, Minolta, Canon…and we decided having a son named Cannon definitely meant he was destined for the meat bar. Glad you agree.

  73. My favorite name faux-pas, and you have to guess how it’s pronounced. Think long and hard on this one.

    Le-a. Hint: It’s not any pronounced like any imaginable variation of Leah.

  74. I too run into weird names too much nowadays, but here in Hungary it is in a way worse. You can try to name your child anything that gets past a certain naming commitee or something so that it can become a legal name, but there are certain rules. You can name your child Michael Jackson, only it has to be “turned” into hungarian, so if you would want it to sound like the popstar it would look like this: Májköl Dzsekszon
    I’ve already seen a Lucy – in hungarian writing Lüszi and when I see such abominations I really just want to scream at the parents. At least there is some boundary as someone does have to approve it. Still the things they are okay with…..

    I’m aiming to name my future children something that doesn’t sound weird on a child neither on an adult, and also goes well with the father’s surname. In addition to that it should be pronouncible by foreign language speakers as I really dislike when I have to repeat my name 5 times before anyone not hungarian gets it close to right (never heard a right pronounciation from a foreigner for my name yet)

  75. Ha! This is awesome! I’m kind of a name freak too, no offense, but in a different way. For instance when I’m trying to name someone or something, I don’t just pick a random name. I see so many people that make me think . .. .”Your name is ” ? ” O.o What the heck were your parents thinking?” I research meanings, and I NEVER name them anything a million other people might be named. I’ve even made up a few names that don’t sound too bad if I say so myself.

  76. Ha – I wrote a post with similar info recently and once considered the name Skye for a girl! You’ll have to check out the list of weird names from Baby Center I think? from 2012. Yoga was on there. COME ON! Yoga? People are just weird. ;)

  77. Haha this is hilarious! Though, when you mentioned that people shouldn’t name their kids Seattle, it reminded me of this travel blogger I know with the same name. It’s that rare occasion where it suits the personality perfectly… and apparently she has Native American blood and that was where her parents got the name from .

    On the other hand… I do know a girl named Jakarta. Thank goodness it’s her middle name!

  78. Haha this is great, love it. It’s crazy how many times I walk around and hear someone yell “Princess” or something along those lines. Like really? That being said, I don’t like common names either. Something like Falyn, Raina, Elle, Larinee, and even Hunter haha. But even then I get the weirdest stares from people.

  79. I agree with this. I don’t understand why people are giving their kids such weird names these days. I think it’s because it’s to take after celebrities.

  80. I love names – I was always coming up with different combinations of names for my future kids (which I never had, but have made peace with). To this day as a woman of a certain age, I still love names. I’m with you though – some people go overboard. Apple? Really? My pen name, Sadie, is much more common than it used to be, but alas I had already picked it, so will keep it as it seems to suit me and my personality. I heard one time that a good way to pick a name, especially for a country singer, is to use the name of your first pet and your Mothers’ maiden name. Good thing I’m not a country singer as that would make my name, Mittens Maddox (speaking of stripper names). I loved this post and congratulations on being freshly pressed.

  81. Hilarious! If only more people listened to you. That said, the blog names I’ve given my children are odd, and their real names are apparently boring enough for them to occasionally be known as “Morgan F.”

  82. This was awesome! So funny.
    I was married to a south african and his name was Herman. It was an acceptable name for an afrikaans speaking family 34 years ago… but he wanted to name our first born after him and his grandfather….. How do you tell your husband that in canada… their name sucks?? Its a good thing the marriage didn’t work out.. so I dodged the bullet on that conversation.

  83. “…and sounds like you’ve decided any word that exists can be a name.”
    It can. You’ll never convince me otherwise.

    The biggest problem I have is when people try to take a simple name and spell it like they’re drunk. Like spelling Jason as “Jaesohn” or Amy as “Aimeee” or Caleb as “Kailob”.

    I do agree with naming your child a very common name. I grew up with a common name and everywhere I went, there were 4-7 other kids with the same name, and I hated it.

    1. THANK YOU. This trend to take perfectly normal, acceptable, traditional names and spell them in “clever” ways is more irritating to me than the whole “random noun as a name” phenomenon. I had a friend give birth to her first child last May and for a while she and her husband were seriously considering naming her “Alyvia”. Yup. Not Olivia. Alyvia. She is a very close friend and I didn’t have the heart to tell her that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard, but I secretly prayed she would come to her senses. They ended up picking something else, albeit still not very common, but certainly not off the wall and that the child would end up spelling and explaining for her entire life.

  84. The perfect post. I’ve ranted about baby names before, too. People seem to get very caught up in the joy of naming something new and forget that “something new” has to grow up into a fully functional adult member of society. My sister and I have normal but somewhat less than common names, while my fiance and his brother both have extremely ultra-common names. There’s a fine line between naming your kid something unique and naming them something weird and unfortunate. There is also a fine line between naming them something normal and something overused!

  85. Its so funny that I came across this. My parents and I were just talking about things like this. For example my name is Patricia, which is sort of common but for short I am called Patti, not Patty, which my parents did for a reason. And secondly my middle name is Jerome. Who in the world does that to their daughter? It is after my grandfather but still. I have grown to appreciate it though, its very unique.

  86. Reblogged this on Reverse Pelican and commented:
    Totally something I would write about….Like I’ve already named my future five children (yes, five) and now I may have to do some reconsidering. Don’t get your panties in a twist, I didn’t name them anything ridiculous like Blue Ivy or Georgia. But, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t basing my decisions on my favorite Bollywood movies…which I guess can be considered equally criminal.

  87. Love this post! I wish people put a lot more thought into naming their babies and I hope I made the right choice for my baby Riishab (indian origin) and hopefully he won’t be made fun of when he goes to school! LOL! I have seen some people named India and looking at them I feel like they probably don’t even know if India is in Asia or Africa :)

  88. Christ, I am spluttering reading some of these; number three is just fantastic and should be an actual law. My father decided as an avid Lord Of The Rings fan that my first name should be Lórien, and although it’s not the oddest of names, trying to explain to people that no, it’s not pronounced Lauren, and no, it’s an Elfin name, not French, can often lead to some rather bizarre conversations.

    1. I love your father and I love your name! This is the exception…when a name is too awesome to have to follow rules :)

  89. This was an interesting post. My family has had “issues” with names. An aunt I knew as “Susie” was actually Evelyn Gail. Huh? My dad named my older brother Morgan (he was Wyatt Earp’s younger brother). My brother hated it, since Morgan was the Earp that was murdered. I used to tell him that Morgan was better than Virgil (the older brother). He didn’t agree.
    I know a Sydney and a Brooklyn (sisters) and I knew a Portia who was always asked “why are you named for a car?” when in fact her mom was a Shakespeare fan. I had another aunt named Margaret Amy Jane for her grandmothers. She went by “Jane” and didn’t even know her name was Margaret until the first day of kindergarten and was she mad!
    I named my daughter Mary Kathleen and call her Mary Kate. The days of “did you name her for the Olsen twin” have since passed, thankfully, but it was a name I was supposed to have had. My mother was a Mary Lou (which she hated…can’t imagine why? LOL) and thought that I needed my own identity. I was blessed with Kelly. A popular name in the mid 1960’s, as I attended school with 5 other Kelly’s. I was “Kelly O.” for decades.
    Give your child a name they can be proud of, but at the same time not too common, too hard to spell, prounounce or has potential for cruel nicknames.
    Think long and think hard before you sign that birth certificate!!!

  90. I am also a big fan of #7. Personally, I think “Jennifer” was not a wise pick, haha! But when my parents moved to the U.S. from Europe back in the 80s, they thought it was beautiful and just right for me. SERIOUSLY?! So did a TON of other parents! During a season, I worked with two other employees in the same department and on some days, all three of us worked side by side. We were Jennifer, Jenn, and Jenny. UGH! I picked less common names for my three babies because, well – see above, but not names that are unheard of either.

    Great post and great fun reading! Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed! Awesome!

  91. If I ever have a kid, I’m gonna take a boggle mixer, give it a good shake and set down. The first and third rows will be his first name and the second and fourth will be his last.

    As far as I’m concerned, if little Grznflrp Bvrnwdrn doesn’t like his name, he’s more than welcome to find somewhere else to live.

  92. Actually, pretty solid advice. I would also add “Do not name your child something that you read somewhere without researching what it means. The example is that I knew a girl whose parents did not speak English and they thought Usnavy sounded cute. What they read was U.S. Navy”.

  93. My name is made up, the first 2 letters of my fathers name and the first 2 letters of my mothers name= Roma, I know it wouldn’t work for everyone try it and see what you could have been named :)

  94. Why is that every time I see my name on these lists, it’s saying that I’m a slut, tramp or stripper? My name is chastity and I’m not any of those vile things. Frankly, I’m abstinate. I have no idea how my mom thought it was a good idea to name me that because, of its meaning and the fact that it’s so close to Cassidy, why couldn’t she name me that instead? I’ve been made fun of so many times when I was in school, and what I find hilarious about school was just about every girl in my school got pregnant except for me and, they have “normal” names like, Katherine, Samantha, Nicole, and excetera.

    1. I understand. My name is rather unusual and people had a great time giving me terrible nicknames or being mean to me. I think it unadvisable that parents name their children things that are so reminiscent of stripper names, etc, but in no way does that actually reflect your true character.

  95. It is very interesting post. Babies are the ones we are living for and the most interesting thing that we can give to our babies is their names well done!

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