07 March 2004  

Bad Bad Baby Names

:: For years I've ranted about parents giving stoopid baby names to their children. It's one of the reasons that certain people should not be permitted, by law, to procreate. One of my favorite web sites is Baby's Named a Bad, Bad Thing: A Primer on Parent Cruelty, compiled by Diane Goodman in San Francisco. Goodman visits various baby naming bulletin boards (like BabyCenter), grabs actual posts about what names parents are considering giving their new babies, and adds editorial comments to each one. It's one of the few sites that makes me laugh out loud.

Friday's Edmonton Journal featured an article on the top Alberta baby names for 2003. Titled Now who'd name their child Zxyrill? (good question, and a sad one at that), the article not only highlights stoopid names, but the bizarre trend of parents to create variant spellings on a name, as if in doing so, they have bestowed some special individuality on their poor, unsuspecting child.

Examples from the article:

    Aidan was chosen by the parents of 130 baby boys born in Alberta in 2003. Others chose Aaden, Adan, Aden, Adin, Adyn, Aedan, Aeden, Aedyn, Aiden, Aidin, Aidon, Aidyn, Aydan, Ayden, and Aydon.

    Proud Alberta parents named 114 girls Abigail. Others went with Abbegale, Abbeygael, Abbigael, Abbigayle, Abbi-Gayle, Abbygail, Abbygale, Abigael, Abigale and Abigayle.

That sound you just heard was me, screaming. Sorry, hope I wasn't too loud. What's missing from these two lists are variations like Ehdin, A'dyn, Aaddinn, and Haidan, where the parents advise their poor kid that the "H" in his name is silent.

One boy in Alberta was named Connnor. Yes, there are three "n"s in his name. Another girl was named Lexus-Nykole. Among the baby names for boys, registered in Alberta in 2003: Blade, Boston, Caprice, Chaos, Coletrane (jazz fan?), D. (yes, with the period), Dee-Jay (radio fan?), Dilbert (likes the funnies?), Diesel (likes Vin?), Denzel (obvious), Ebenzer (is that a typo?), Exzavier (wanted to ensure correct pronunciation), Fox and Foxx (one's parents like Mulder, the other Redd), Freedom (Woodstock outtake), Frost, Genesis ("there must be some misunderstanding..."), H. (will he meet D. someday?), Hillary (this kid will get teased), Houston (will he meet Boston someday?), J.R., Jetli (martial arts fan?), Jonathn (typo?), Journey (did they ever tour with Genesis?), K.C. (also KC), (NOTE: The Ks have many bizarre variations on many names beginning with C), Lucky, Madeleine (he'll need to team up with Hillary), Man, Maxxam (palindrome), Memphis (ok, geothematic stuff happening here), Neo (Matrix fan?), Oblio (old Nillson fan? "Me and My Arrow..."), Ocean, Osama (er, um...), Ozzy (70s headbanger?), Pure (?), Phoenix (continuing with cities), River (perhaps he'll be in the same class as Ocean), Shady, Shooter, T. (ok, so maybe D., H., J.R., K.C., and T. will form a rock band called The Initials), Thunder, Tiger, Tolkien (could become friends with J.R.), Trigger (will become friends with Shooter), Wang (there was also a Chung, please, please let them become friends, too!), Xyler (what, Tyler isn't good enough?), Zyler (ok, you win).

More variant spelling examples: Braden: Bradyn, Braedan, Braeden, Braedon, Braedyn, Braiden, Braidin, Braidon, Brayden, Braydin, Braydon, BrayDyn. What, Braydan wasn't good enough? What about Breigh-Dann?

Among the baby names for girls, registered in Alberta in 2003: A., Arizona-Rayne, Babe, Bay-JA (my name is spelled capital b, small a, small y, hyphen, capital j, capital a), Becca (that had to happen, in addition to destroying spelling, parents are now chopping up names as well), Brie (name your kid after cheese?), Brooklyn (ok, when did naming a girl after an NYC borough become popular? And the variations? Migod... Brookelyn, Brooke-Lyn, Brooke-lyn, Brooke-Lynn, Brooke-lynne, Brooklin, BrookLyn, Brook-Lyn, Brook-lyn, Brooklynn, Brooklynne. They forgot Broocklinne), Charisma (no pressure on this kid), Charlize (nicely timed), Colby (another cheese), Desert (will have to date Ocean or River), Dwyshina, Dylynn (aghh!), Georga (another typo?), Ice (will be in contention with Desert to date River or Ocean), Island, Isabell'a (is that pronounced Isabell-AHHH?), J'dynn (a Klingon?), Jewelyanna, Jor-el (isn't that Superman's father's name?), Jythsaint (try saying that while eating crackers), Kennedy (and Kenadee, Kenady, Kenedy, Kennadi, Kennedi - shoot me now), Leaf, November, Ocean (and Oceana, Oceanna, Océanne), Orielle-Floriane, Peris, Poetry, Prescious (are the parents named Gollum and Smeagol?), Promise, Rabeaca (if this is a variation on Rebecca, the others include: Rebbeca, Rebbecca, Rebecka, Rebeka, Rebekah, Rebekka, Rebekkah, and Rebeccaanne - spare a hyphen, maybe?), Sappho (are they expecting her to bat for the same team?), Sarah-Lee (future cake baker?), Shaquille (c'mon, she's a girl, dammit!), Sparrow, Solaris, Storm, Sunshine (they must become friends), Swastika (oh-my-God; maybe she'll have it changed, or shortened to "Tika"), Teardrop, Ty'r (Klingon again?), White, and Zowie.

Perhaps many of these children might end up in the same kindergarten class. I pity the teacher. The images are frightening. "Mom, Sappho and J'Dynn are here, can I go out and play with them? We're going over to Tolkien's house, Ocean, River and Ice will be there too." How will Chaos's parents react when he brings his girlfriend over to meet them? "Mom, Dad, I'd like you to meet Swastika."

Can't any of these parents be slapped upside the head, or given a good, swift, hard kick in the behind?

:: BTW, The Sopranos returned to tv, after a 15-month hiatus. The first episode tonight was quite good. Here's a review (with spoilers, if you haven't seen the episode, don't read the whole thing.)

Posted by Randy at March 7, 2004 07:43 PM | TrackBack

I have trouble wrapping my head around Aiden, much less the rest of those. 130 took the homonymal form of my son's name last year, eh? I suppose we were ahead of the curve.


Someone who spells his name funny

Posted by: Murph at March 8, 2004 10:46 AM

Tolkien. It's TolkIEn. IE. (I just finished editing an essay where someone had misspelled it 10 times...). And I know Oblio's mom. :)

Posted by: Jena at March 8, 2004 01:43 PM

Remember the SNL sketch in which the parents agonize about names that might be turned into something derogatory or dirty and name the kid Ossweepay?

Posted by: Tony at March 8, 2004 06:13 PM

*shudder* Maybe we should just number people. It's simpler, and it eliminates not only these strangities but also things like "Wesley".

Posted by: Claire D. at March 8, 2004 07:59 PM

Oops, thanks, Jena, for correcting my spelling!

Posted by: randy at March 8, 2004 08:04 PM

#1: How long did it take you to type this post

#2: good lord. who wants to take bets that "Diesel" and "Fox" probably came from young teen parents? Mind you, people still make fun of "Summer" and "Flower" and the like decades after the 60s.

Posted by: kelly at March 8, 2004 09:30 PM

Kelly, it took me, maybe three hours in total (including typing), but it was fun, because I love looking at the lists of baby names. Also, I didn't do it all at once, I worked on it, saved it as a draft, came back to it.

Posted by: randy at March 8, 2004 09:55 PM

Randy dear,

I have been laughing so hard the tears have been running down my face. I actually wrote the annual baby names release for the Alberta Government two years running. My favourite trend the second year was people giving their kids nouns as names -- Rock, Rain, River, Tree, Book, Wind, Cloud and the best of that year Space.

Not often I think of the Government of Quebec as having any thing to offer up as an example to the rest of us, but they actually have strict rules about what you can or can not name a child.

Posted by: shannon at March 9, 2004 09:43 PM

Brooklyn the 20th most popular girls' name? Was that even a name 5 years ago? Enjoyed the post!

Posted by: Ron at March 15, 2004 06:39 PM

Yes, My name is on the bad bad baby list. But overall, my life is great and my name is not bad. You know what name is bad, it is JOHN!

Posted by: Braedon at March 19, 2004 07:54 AM

Hey...my name's Brooklyn...I like my name...what's wrong with it? Most others think it's a great name, too.

Posted by: Brooklyn at April 9, 2004 09:25 PM

Well, John is NOT a bad name, actually, and neither is Bradeon - er - Braädynne - er - well, do you get the point? Why the 9,456 different spellings? It's baby-naming gone insane. As for Brooklyn, well, the jury's out on that one for me, I confess. Brooke is a nice name, as is Lyn. I guess it's ok, but geez, I can't separate it from the borough. I mean, are your sisters named Queens and Yonkers? When did it suddenly become way cool to name a kid after a geographic area? Sorry.

Posted by: randy at April 11, 2004 04:24 PM

good lord. who wants to take bets that "Diesel" and "Fox" probably came from young teen parents? Mind you, people still make fun of "Summer" and "Flower" and the like decades after the 60s

Sounds to me like your the teen making fun of peoples names. Pathetic

Posted by: David at April 19, 2004 05:19 PM

I'll tell you something that is a pet peeve of mine. It is ignorant parents calling the child by their middle name on a daily basis from the day that the child is born. Now it is obvious why parents do it but it is still wrong. They name the kid after themselves and start calling the kid by the middle name to avoid confusion in the home. However, they forget that nobody outside of the home wants anyone's first initial, middle name and last name on legal documents in private companies and government agencies. Every rude stranger wants to shove the wrong name down the poor kid's throat in a misguided attempt to be their so-called "friend." Then when the kid has to correct these idiotic strangers about the name, then they want to punish the kid because of his parents' mistake in naming him. This also always happens after the kid has already told people what his preferred name happens to be. This is extremely obnoxious. By the way, you are supposed to call customers in a business or a government agency by their last names. Now I have a question for people. How can you be a friend of someone and not know which name that they use on a daily basis? This whole instant familiarity with total strangers is very phoney.

My parents did this stupid nonsense to me in addition to giving me a last name that is hard to spell and pronounce correctly. It is just too much confusion for idiots to have to deal with and it is a pain in the neck. I hate it when idiots call me by my first name that I don't use with relatives and and friends on a daily basis. I also hate when people reduce the middle name to an initial, toss the initial out into the trash and mispronounce the last name. I don't answer to nicknames that are derived from either names and people should not try to force me to answer to them. I also never answer to my initials or to double names. I tell people that I am legally required to use an alias when I have to put my first name, middle initial, and last name on legal documents. However, I have gotten my name changed on most legal documents because I put my first initial, middle name, and last name on them.

Please don't do this to your child because it is an unwanted and unneeded nuisance. If you name your child after yourself, your spouse, or another relative, then please do it the correct way. Let us say that your name is Michael Alan King and your wife's name is Susan Marie Jackson. Now you have a baby boy. Why don't you name him Phillip Michael King and call him Phillip? This avoids confusion between the father and the son. Then the son's name is listed as Phillip Michael King or Phillip M. King on legal documents and everyone will know what to call him. How is this confusing to people?

Posted by: Desmond Tutu Fan at June 8, 2004 12:11 PM

I've really enjoyed reading this list. I am a Quebec resident, but have to tell you that even their policies, the Quebec government let some awful names slide :
I've heard of Jersey, Dakota, Ocean, Océane, Storm, Océanie and many more...

Posted by: P. at July 13, 2004 11:57 AM

Now, I can understand why things like a childs name might bother someone. But I must admit, most of those names were just fine. People will spell a childs name any which way they like.
Like personally I like my sons name which is Braedyn. Its cute and it mean good health...and we will take that meaning very strongly, as my child was born with Down Syndrome.

I like the spelling of Braedyn. Its original, everyone spells is Braydon...and its boring. the Spelling Braedyn is gaelic, and signifies my background....all I had to say...

ITs a Nice Name!!!!


Posted by: CanadaLass at July 26, 2004 08:55 PM

OMG....those are some hilarious names...I actually seen two of the weirdest and saddest names too... Feather (no lie) and Bubba (No word of a lie...B-U-B-B-A) and they are brother and sister.

Weirdest family ever...

I also seen the name Twiggy...

A nurse I seen once had to register a Girl Named Cherish-Maya (last name??? get this....) BEAVER!

Cherish Maya Beaver!!!!

Posted by: Mandy at August 25, 2004 04:36 PM

Charisma: in Christian theology a divinely inspired gift, it is greek meaning Grace. It is a beautiful name, my daughters name and it fits her personality.

Posted by: lisa at September 21, 2004 04:51 PM

You forgot:Ann,Anne Steve,Steph Christina,Kristina Sarah,Sara John,Jon Jonathan,Jonathen,Johnathon Jonnah,Jonna Glen,Glenn Ryan,Rian Eric,Erik,Erich Eddy,Eddie Tracy,Tracey,Tracie,Traci Katherine Catherine Katie,Katey Kathy,Cathy,Kathey,Cathey,Kathie,Cathie Ed,Edd Abby,Abbey,Abbie Jodi,Jodie,Jody,Jodey Bobby,Bobbie Greg,Gregg Willie,Willy Maddie,Maddi,Maddy,Maddey

Posted by: Ryan at September 25, 2004 05:32 PM

I met a girl named Sparkle. Her sister's name is Cinnamon Sugar. I also know a kid named Shithead (pronounced sha-theed). He had a hell of a time in high school. I know a little girl named Teacup, one named Latrina, several girls named Princess, a Daiquiri, a Chiquita, and I know twins named Oranjello and Lemonjello. Went to high school with them too. They were friends with Shithead. None of them have forgiven their parents yet.

Posted by: Nina at October 13, 2004 08:26 AM

my name is Brook-Lyn and i love it. i'm sorry you guys have boaring names but you don't have to take it out on the people with cool names. Growing up with a different name has made me feel original and independant. i'm not just another jessica or brittany. yuck.

Posted by: Brook-Lyn at November 24, 2004 12:38 PM

By the way....There is nothing wrong with the name Aedyn...it is my daughter's name! The reason behind spelling it in that fashion is that is a lot more feminine looking than Aidan. I don't think anyone would disagree with me on that.

Posted by: Kimberly at January 14, 2005 10:21 AM

I got a lot of flack for naking my daughter Trinity 8 years ago, now it is very popular due to the success of The Matrix. I like different names, but I'm not a fan of crazy spellings. It's hard enough with sons Beau, (everybody wants to spell it Bo, like body-odor, I don't think so), and Brenden, (my husband refused a -an ending, which I wanted, but now everyone spells it Brendan anyway) There is a line that shouldn't be crossed. C'mon, Connnor with 3 n's...they must have failed language arts it grade school.

Posted by: Kristi at February 8, 2005 08:34 PM

NOTHING makes a name look more feminine. And you say a name far more often than you write it, and the 'y' sure as hell doesn't make it sound any more feminine.

Posted by: Diana at February 25, 2005 07:14 PM

To the lady who named her son Braedyn: if you had done any research into traditional Scotch or Irish names (as you claim you are "celtic", without specifying which, or perhaps Welsh, Breton, or mainland?), you'd have learned that y is not a letter in either Scottish or Irish Gaelic. In Welsh it is pronounced as an 'ih' sound, as in "Ick, the name Braedyn isn't any more Irish than Mikayla!" I believe the name you were aiming for was "Brendan", which IS a traditional Irish name. But unless you're pronouncing that e as an n, I don't see how you can get Brendan from Brayden. And it makes me sad, because you seem so very proud that it's gaelic so it reflects your heritage...but in reality it just makes you look like white trash.

Posted by: Ali at February 25, 2005 09:52 PM

why dont you let them name their babies whatever they want.

Posted by: meagan at April 6, 2005 07:33 PM
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