What’s In A Name?

With a child who has recently left primary school, a job in another primary school, and a slightly unhealthy obsession with celeb-land, I have come across my fair share of unusual children’s names over the last few years.

Naming one’s child is obviously a very personal choice, but I often wonder if parents really think through the reality of their child having to live with that name for the rest of their life – a name should be able to stand the test of time and not be a potential embarrassment, as far as I’m concerned.

Here are some that don’t quite make the grade (in my humble opinion, and with apologies in advance to anybody I offend!)

1.         Geronimo.  My ex-sister-in-law seriously considered naming her third child this.  I may have put her off by laughing hysterically for about 15 minutes, as she eventually named him Lawton.

2.         Agatha or Gladys.  If traditional names are your thing (and with a son called William, I guess they’re probably mine as well), there are lots of lovely ones out there to choose from.  These ones, selected by a former neighbour of mine for her two daughters, are not lovely.

3.         Zowie.  Selecting a name because it rhymes with your surname is just WRONG, David Bowie.  See also point 7 below.

4.         Rooney.  I heard a woman in the street yesterday (who inspired this post, actually) screeching ‘Rooooooney’!!!’ after her recalcitrant offspring.  I despair.  Truly, I despair.

5.         Milly and Tilly.  Lovely names, both – when you’re a toddler in a pink frilly frock.  Not so much when you’re a 45 year old barrister.  Both these names are diminutives of ‘proper’ names (Millicent and Matilda originally), and as such, if you want to call your child this sort of thing, at least give them the full name to fall back on in case they decide they want to be taken seriously later in life.

6.         Jonty (see also: Monty and Hector).   It just makes you sound like a pompous, public school arse, before you’ve even opened your mouth, doesn’t it?   If I were a potential employer, I may not even read beyond the ‘name’ line of his CV.  Sorry, Jonty.

7.         Any ridiculous made-up name invented by a celebrity purely to get publicity.  These include Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow & Chris Martin); Dweezil and Moon Unit (Frank Zappa); Bluebell Madonna (Geri Haliwell) – also see point 5; Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone) and Romeo (the Beckhams).

8.         Destiny, Chastity, Chanel, Charisse, Courtney, Britney, Jordan, Kayleigh and Charmaine.  All real names that I’ve come across over the last few years.

9.  Dodgy spellings.  I once had a friend called Martine (lovely name), but spelled Marteen (uh?), because her mother had sent her father to register the birth and he didn’t know how to spell it.  True story.  Isn’t it funny how seeing it written down like that makes the name look so much uglier?  Or is it just me?  Anyway, recent examples of similar that I’ve seen are Kristofer, Kloee, Kaytee, Jaysun, Joesif and Chevaughn.

Have you got any more to add to my list?



15 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Well first of all my mother was Gladys Matilda Kate. She hated her name and wished she had been called Kate. I am Glynis Margaret (thanks to my brother who named me after Princess Margaret) and I too hate my name and wished I had been called Kate, and on quite frequent occasions people call me Gladys. Grrrrrrr. So it was important to me that my daughter had a pretty name hence Marissa Kate.

    There is a teenager here called Chardonay. What does that name say to you?

    As for the name Bluebell – I can remember as a child saying to my mother. “If I ever have a little girl I am going to call her Bluebell” so perhaps Geri pinched it from me. I hasten to add my mother did utter “God help her” or something like that.

  2. It’s funny how time changes perspective though……..I’m called Lucy, which I hated as a child, as I got teased and called ‘Lucy Locket;, Juicy Lucy, even Lucy-lastic, (which I now use on my own blog)! Upsetting when you’re only 4 or 5 years old. Now, I am happy with it, even though it get’s shortened to ‘Lou’ by my nearest and dearest. I have an Alexander and an Edward – so definitely stuck in the classic groove! I agree with Glynis about Chardonnay – poor girl.

  3. Years ago I came across siblings called Ross and Demelza – and, yes, they would have been born in the mid to late seventies when ‘Poldark’ was all the rage. More recently, I was aware of sisters called Unique and Scenario – I kid you not!!

    Probably just as well I never had a son as I would have been sorely tempted to have named him Thaddeus – which I think is a fabulous biblical name – but is probably not the easiest name to live with.

    • Scenario? Unique? Words fail me!

      Biblical names are interesting, aren’t they? Some are very much mainstream these days (Joseph, Jacob, Isaac), and others are becoming more so. I’ve come across a few ‘Noah’s’ in the last few years – and I ALWAYS imagine them with a trail of paired animals behind them!!

  4. I’m pretty sure not many people really love the name they were given at birth. That said I have a very common name, Tracy and whilst I don’t like the name i do love the spelling, which is spelt as Trayci. (it’s far from ugly thank you!)

    In my years actioning recruitment I have encountered many a silly name, but each to their own. If we all liked the same it would be a rather boring life.

    X x

    • Hi Trayci – thanks for visiting and taking the time to comment. Seem to remember there being a contestant on X Factor a couple of years ago with an unusual spelling similar to yours – TreyC, I think.

      You’re quite right – it would be a very boring world if we all liked the same things – here’s to diversity of opinion, and let’s agree to differ! :-))

  5. I love Agatha and Dulcie and Dorothy so i suppose I in the minority. my son was to be called Lydia if he was a girl but ‘lid o yer dustbin’ was quoted to me and put my off. I do agree that full names are the best as they can be shortened or lengthened as the time of life dictates.

  6. A few years ago my least favorite of all time made its way onto the list…Nevaeh…heaven backward. Some rock band member named their daughter that, and it seemed to go viral in the newborn naming crowd.

    A near and dear has the last name Beam, and we joked about naming the baby to be Sun, Moon, or (God forbid) Laser. 🙂 Good sense prevailed, and we got a Caitlyn and a Chloe.

    My teacher friends have reported to me dumbfounded when they have had students named Vagina (I kid you not) and Formica Dinette (it sounded so good in the furniture store)!

  7. top dislikes are
    Spooky (we know a boy called this, parents have another child with a normal name, seems unfair)
    Summer = sounds like a playboy bunny name to me.

    and the best one we heard in Scotland, true story = Chlamydia, not sure if that was how they spelt it. The child that was at a family birthday party. that is just asking to be called STD for the rest of you life.

    Top loves of names right now are (if we had children)
    Sabine (family name)

  8. I was in a large department store one day and a woman was calling her little daughter – Clinique! Clinique! I swear. I was with my daughter and we both looked at each other and started to laugh.
    My brother in law is a teacher and a little girl in his class is called “Sparkle”.
    He said it sounds like a left over hippie name. Have to agree with him.

  9. Our dry cleaner has a grandson named Armani
    In one of my kids’ classes there is a ‘Brick.’
    Sadie used to have a ‘Bethlehem’ in her class.
    I have a friend who was going to name her baby Stormy if it was a girl (if you knew their last name it would make it sound even more stripper like).
    Another of my kids is best friends with a lad called ‘Burke.’

    Hubby used to work with someone whose kids were names Storm and Echo. And another bloke who had kids called Eric and Erica.

    In Atlanta I knew someone who let her 2 yr old pick the name of the new baby. Ended up being called ‘Park.’

    Over here the list is ENDLESS…..

  10. My sister did her stint at the Children’s hospital she used to carry around a ward plan with the babies names on it. It used to have us in hysterics. At one point it seemed they had the whole cast of Dynasty in there including Krystle Carrington Smith.

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