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Stupid Names for Babies, And Eventually Adults, All the Rage, Study Proves

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Apple, Suri and Shiloh may be household names because their parents are stars, but a new study of millions of babies finds it's not just celebrities who seek out distinctive names for their kids.

Regular folks do, too, driving down the percentages of those who pick popular names….

The large-scale study of trends in baby-naming by psychologists Jean Twenge and W. Keith Campbell is based on an analysis of names on applications for Social Security numbers of 325 million Americans born between 1880 and 2007….

Why, America (a great name for a boy or a girl, by the way), why? (And it's not just the U.S.; a similar study found the same trend in France.)

"We know the desire for uniqueness is going up, and we know narcissism is going up. That doesn't mean we can say it's definitely a cause, but the two are clearly related," [researcher Jean Twenge] says.

[Researcher Pamela Redmond] Satran says such changes in naming trends don't mean individualism has taken over.

"A value these days is to say you're unique and have your own individual style, but it's hard to buck the trends," Satran says. "Despite everybody saying they want a unique name, that is still why there are so many named Emily, Jacob, Jaden and Isabella."

More, including a list of stupid names such as Khloe, Marlee, and Paxton, here.

I don't think that individualism and narcissism are linked (and if you don't ask me, dial up any friends named Roark or Dagny). And I think it's great that people are naming their kids whatever they want—it's part and parcel of a much-wider trend toward personalization that is everywhere around us except in health-care and education (and even there, it's a-coming). When you look at the Puritan fathers of New England, they all had kids with stupid names and look at how they turned out. Four hundred years later, the Boston Red Sox, chock full of players with stupid names, won the World Series in a game not really created by a guy named Abner. Go figger.

Full disclosure: My two kids' names are Jack (actually John) and Neal.

Wish for a better America: More kids named Sal and fewer named Manny, please!

Where this trend started no doubt:

Update: Go to the baby NameVoyager for an incredibly cool Java-driven site that will let you see how popular a particular name has been since the 1880s. For instance, the names Heath and Heather peaked in the 1970s; Ethel in the 1890s (as the eighth most popular name for gals!); and George has been sliding since the 1880s, when it was the fourth most-common name for boys. 

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  1. My two kids’ names are Jack (actually John) and Neal.

    But how does each of your Jack Neals know which one you’re calling?

  2. Red Sox Roster

    Regardless of their names, they’re still a wicked fucking awesome team!

  3. Hey now. I really think it is all about individuality. I’m about to have a child and he/she will have a unique name. I hope our child will appreciate the creativity of the name. And I want him/her to always remember when he/she is sitting in a class room or board room that he/she is an individual.

    (maybe that is narcissism?)

  4. I’ve now sired three daughters and was unable to get my name of choice “Bernadette” foisted on any of them. If anybody out there is naming a girl in the near future, I put it to you: Bernadette: So ugly it’s cute; so old it’s new; so Catholic it’s sexy. Bring back a great old name: Make your kid the only Bernadette in the tri-state area.

  5. People with oldtimey names seem to live longer.
    Esther, Abraham, Gloria…

    Some names seem like they’re just syllables picked out of a hat and thrown together

    I prefer pretentious names, usually giving someone a Presidents last name works:
    Jefferson, Adams, Nixon, or Harding.

  6. Had a friend in college named Mike Lipshitz who hated his name, so he had it changed. Now he’s Carl Lipshitz and much happier.

  7. Michael, Jennifer, Jennifer, Michael, Michael, Michael, Jennifer…

  8. Not all names that sound strange are.

    We named our last child “Asher.” My mother-in-law said, “All my friends think it’s an interesting name. Where did you get it?”

    “Uh, what friends of yours are we talking about?”

    “The ladies at church.”

    “Mom, Asher is in the Bible. Look it up.”

  9. I’ve been told that the greatest gift you can give your child today is an extremely common name that will make it impossible for a snoop using a search-engine to identify her/him.

  10. Tim: “ette” at the end of a name always has connotations for me. A Bernadette is just a dimuinitive Bernad.

    Nick: There’s an old joke applicable to the names Jack and Neal (and Bob) that goes “are those your names or how you earn your money?” But I won’t tell it here…
    Also a great King Crimson song “Neal & Jack & Me” which I think I’ll go listen to now.

    I have recently discovered that most commercial pharmaceutical names sound like old presidential middle names.

    Henry Advil Harrison
    Andrew Claratin Jackson
    And so on…

  11. Asher is in the Bible

    So is Shiloh.

  12. “Mom, Asher is in the Bible. Look it up.”

    You named your child after one of the 12 sons of Jacob and the church going moms didn’t get it?
    I call shenanigans, on either the story or the church going.
    Or you named your girl Asher. That would be confusing.

  13. Civil War generals had the best first and second names as well. Usually on the Confederate side.

    http://sunsite.utk.edu/civil-war/generals.html

  14. If I went for biblical names, I’d have to go with Pontius, Herod, and Plague of Blood.

    They work as death metal band names as well.

  15. The shenanigans I call are on the church, but to be fair, biblical literacy nowadays is most commonly honored in the breach. Kumbaya would be more recognizable a name. Now when I was a lad… [insert drone]

  16. I interviewed a 24 year old for a job a few weeks back with the name Oliver. I told him I thought they didn’t make Olivers any more.

    1. and thats why he wont work for such a pompous asshole.
      i guess inbred parents still make Jeffs.

  17. hmmm…free minds?

  18. Whoa, TFA shows you weren’t kidding about America has a little girl’s name. Jesus.

    My sister is due with a girl in August, and they were considering naming her McKenzie. Terrible.

  19. Of course, the thing is that some of the “unique, individual” names are themselves fads. “Aiden,” for example, was really unique and then became ridiculously common. I know a 25 year old Aiden; his name was interesting if ridiculous when he was born, but now it’s ridiculous and common somehow.

  20. Names come and go in waves. My wife Jennifer has so many friends and cousins her age named Kelly and Jennifer I lose track of who is who.

    There is one problem with Nick’s theory about strange names equaling more individuality; the kid doesn’t get to chose his own name. This is not individuality. Individuality is people changing their given names to what they want. This is just narsisitic parents treating their kids like trophies. Someday those kids are going to be adults and be stuck with those names. Yeah, little Apple and Banjo may be cute at three. But all three year olds are. Someday, they will have to be adults and face the prospect of people bursting out laughing everytime they show and ID or intorduce themselves.

  21. A friend who had some connection to social services in NJ reports that many girls among the underclass are called Feh-MAHL-lee, which caseworkers take to be an appropriated African name, but in fact is only the gender noted by the hospital records department when the selection of a name hasn’t occurred to distracted young women unprepared to become mothers.

  22. I wanted to name my son Finneus, because I think Fin is a way cool nickname. Didn’t get past the goalie on that one.

  23. I had a friend growing up named Golden Kip [Common Last Name]. Young, he was Kip. When he became a therapist, he switched to Golden. Upgrade?

    Bonus: His twin brother’s name was Chip.

  24. “I wanted to name my son Finneus, because I think Fin is a way cool nickname. Didn’t get past the goalie on that one.”

    It would work especially well if you have a good Mc name. Fin McTavish or of course Fin McCool.

  25. You can always just take a normal name and put an “Le” or a “La” and call it French. I hear that is quite popular in some circles.

  26. urban legend?

    Yes. As is “Orangejello” and “Le-[dash]Ah.”

    1. Le-(dash)-ah is a real name. im serious. i met this girl and her name was ligitimately Le-A. Her mom said “the dash don’t be silent.”

  27. “urban legend?

    Yes. As is “Orangejello” and “Le-[dash]Ah.”

    I think those two are pretty much the prototypical urban legends. They are always from a removed but beleivable source; usually a friend or relative who works in a hospital or school. And they are almost beleivable but in the end utterly rediculous.

  28. Urban legend, mon ?il!

  29. I’m planning on petitioning very hard to name my first son Kal-El. No bullshit. If he’s gonna have an “odd” name, it’s gonna be a damn good one. Clark would work too.

  30. I’m planning on petitioning very hard to name my first son Kal-El.

    Nicholas Cage is your role model? Seriously?

  31. Kyle,

    I’m sorry, but Nick Cage beat you to it.

    If I have a son, I’m gonna name him Dread. Or maybe some Scottish name like, I dunno, Angus.

  32. He have any other kids named Jor-El or Rao?

    Orion is probably the second runner up. Though, that’s not as uncommon. That being said, I’m still hoping for Kal-El. Might as well share the same kid name since we share the same first name. (And like I’ve said before, “Kyle Jordan” is an amalgamation between Green Lanterns “Kyle Rayner” and “Hal Jordan”.)

  33. I used to volunteer with a charity that had a client named Faginal.

  34. Hah sweet, I was reading this whole thing wondering where the Costanza reference was.

  35. “We know the desire for uniqueness is going up, and we know narcissism is going up. That doesn’t mean we can say it’s definitely a cause, but the two are clearly related,” [researcher Jean Twenge] says.

    I’d say that it’s stupidity that’s going up, and the cause, Jean, is you.

  36. Or maybe a Norse name, like Yngvar.

  37. The trend of “unique” names is complete narcissism. It is just like everyone getting a tattoo to show their “individuality”. Yeah, sure, nothing more original than doing what everyone else does.

    I named my children after people who I hold in the highest regard. My wife wanted to follow the crowd and name the children “uncommon” names, which means “made up”. I wanted to name my son “George Mason” or “George Washington” and my wife actually said “that is a black persons name”!! No, George Washington was white, not that the color of his skin was what made him a great man.

    I eventually tricked my wife into naming my son Mason. In her mind, it is “unique” (even though it’s being “unique” means that many children his age have the same name) I tell him that he is named after George Mason, the author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which TJ used to write the Declaration of Independence.

    I named my daughter Reagan. When she sees a picture of the Great man she will say “that is my other father”.

    The problem with the whole “unique” naming thingy is that names are NOT what make you unique. Being an individual isn’t about having an unusual name and then acting like sheep with regard to “conventional wisdom”, but acting in an original fashion. It is the ultimate “diversity” dodge, an unusual name to cover up a uniformity of belief.

    There is also a historical ignorance involved. Only those with little or no knowledge of history believe that they have truly original thoughts. Several thousand years of humanity indicate that true originality is quite rare. So instead of naming your child “Kashmir” teach them to think for themselves instead.

  38. “Or maybe a Norse name, like Yngvar.”

    I have a Germanic last name. I like a good Germanic name like Gunter, Dagmar, Siegfried.

  39. Due to a drunkenly misspelled last name, I’m all the hits on google when you search my name as a phrase despite having the most common first name of my age group.

  40. You know what grinds my gears much more than the “unique” name trend?

    People who give their kids common names, but come up with asinine spellings for them.

    “Wait, there’s a guy on the Angels named ‘Cho-nay’? What the hell kind of name is that?”

    “It’s not ‘Cho-nay’, it’s Sean. It’s just spelled weird.”

    This means that the name’s not even unique – it’s just a real inconvenience to everyone who will ever have to spell it. It’s as if I put a silent X in my name just for fun, to fuck with teachers, clerks, customer service reps, etc. for all time.

  41. I always liked the name Astrid. I just can’t imagine a woman named Astrid being anything but cool. Sadly, my wife has vetoed that. I also like Erica, but sadly that is the name of my most notorious former girl friend and love. So that one won’t happen unless my wife dies in child birth.

  42. I also like Erica, but sadly that is the name of my most notorious former girl friend and love.

    John, I have the same issue. The wife won’t even let me name a cat Olivia.

  43. Siegfried is nice.

  44. Dread Libertate? You want to be saying that all day?

  45. “John, I have the same issue. The wife won’t even let me name a cat Olivia.”

    Women are very territorial.

  46. Siegfried is nice.

    But think of the consequences if they fall in love with Roy.

    Also, no fooling, I knew a Britt and a Brett that dated for years. It must have been nice to cry out your own name during sex and not get glared at for it.

  47. It’s part and parcel of a much-wider trend toward personalization that is everywhere around us except in health-care and education (and even there, it’s a-coming).

    I doubt it, at least on any large scale. Education is firmly a state monopoly, with non-state schools only a fringe supplier, and health-care is rapidly becoming more and more state government.

    State control is synonymous with standardization, and inconsistent with personalization.

    True story: One mother named her daughter Chianti and Chablis. Not sure what she would name a son. Beau Jolais, perhaps?

    It’s as if I put a silent X in my name just for fun,

    Fluffxy?

  48. Another true story: Another mother named her daughter Pajama. Pronounced PajaMAY.

    Working in hospitals, you hear about all the weird names, because we fill out the birth certificates.

  49. That’s just what the world needs: more interchangeable drones who can’t be told apart by even superficial means.

    “John.” A testament to a staggering lack of creativity and a closeted desire for total conformity.

  50. It’s also good as a title, as I noted in the Roberts thread: The Dread Justice Roberts.

  51. But I meant Dred, like Dred Scott.

  52. “John.” A testament to a staggering lack of creativity and a closeted desire for total conformity.

    Or maybe my parents just wanted to honor both of my grandfathers who had such a name. I will take it over Banjo or Moxie Crime Fighter thank you. I also notice that you have a common name as well. Does that make you a drone? No, it makes you someone people can take as a serious adult. Too bad you won’t give your children the same privilage.

  53. That’s just what the world needs: more interchangeable drones who can’t be told apart by even superficial means.

    You’ve got a lot of bumper stickers on your car, don’t you?

  54. Also, no fooling, I knew a Britt and a Brett that dated for years. It must have been nice to cry out your own name during sex and not get glared at for it.

    My cousin Cori (short for Corinne) is married to a guy named Cory.

  55. Unique is one thing, but ridicule is never a positive aspect to give a child. The common names spelled weird will just be a headache for them their entire life.

    Over the phone: Your name is “K-e-v-i-n?”
    “No, it’s spelled “Q-e-h-v-v-i-n-n-e.”

    My sons’ names are Silas and Asa. A little unusual, but classic and not hard to spell. I think, anyway. I tried to name one of them Beowulf but the missus wouldn’t let me.

  56. “Not sure what she would name a son. Beau Jolais, perhaps?”

    I prefer Voignier myself.

  57. PL,

    Stick with Dread, like Dread Zeppelin.

  58. “My sons’ names are Silas and Asa. A little unusual, but classic and not hard to spell. I think, anyway. I tried to name one of them Beowulf but the missus wouldn’t let me.”

    WOMEN!! I like Silas. That is a good name.

  59. “Wish for a better America: More kids named Sal and fewer named Manny, please!”

    Anti-Semite!

  60. There’s a Catholic tradition of naming your kid for the saint who has the same feast day as the kid’s birthday. My wife and I liked the idea until our kid ended up being born on St. Eusebius’s day.

  61. hier, yo.

  62. Abdul,

    My wife is a crackpot Catholic. I will have to tell her that. Maybe I could get lucky and get an Augustine.

  63. Abdul the Catholic. Awesome!

  64. “Eusebius” is awesome, Abdul. Maybe as a middle name, at least.

    (Achewood is perhaps relevant.)

  65. There are worse ways to choose a child’s name . . .

  66. Don’t get me started about names!

  67. I have a friend whose given name was Al Ware. Grew up in Arkansas. Started out sharecropping.

    Anyway, none of the kids in the family were given middle names. Instead, when they turned 16, they could chose a middle name they liked and add it all legal and proper.

    Al simply chose the letter “B”, thus becoming Al B. Ware.

    True story.

  68. I used to work for a guy who was friends with a man named Governor Vaughn. He played basketball for Illinois back in the 50’s. All the familly members were named like that. I believe he was the father of the actress Countess Vaughn.

  69. “Al B. Ware”

    That’s cool. Any relation to Koko?

  70. My sister’s name is Quesadilla. She was born in Taco Bell. It was either Quesadilla or Burrito Grande.

    [Laugh track]

  71. There was a governor of Texas once named Hogg. He named his daughter Imogene. Ima Hogg was a big socialite in Texas for years.

  72. Deshawn, I think Governor (pronounced Goovenor as in Governor Morris of US Consitition fame) is a really great name.

  73. That’s just what the world needs: more interchangeable drones who can’t be told apart by even superficial means.

    Because all of those people who give their children “unique” names but teach them a “drones” conformity of thought are really, really, “original”?

    How about all of the “interchangeable drones” who believe that a “superficial diversity” (a name) is an indication of actual originality?

  74. My wife had our first daughter (Alison Elizabeth) 3 and a half weeks ago. During her pregnancy she’s spent some time on bulletin boards for pregnant women. You wouldn’t believe some of the names that these women are giving their kids. Though “unique” names are less common than horrible misspellings. A quick glance down the boards gives me:

    Athena Bliss
    Oliver Lennon
    Layci Rebekah-Rayne
    Amiya Jayde
    Akacia (no middle name given)
    Zoie Skye
    Addisyn (no middle name given)
    Jeylanie Yaraee

    And that’s just what I found through a cursory glance at the first couple of pages before getting bored.

  75. A unique name is all well and good, but if it’s too unique or merely the spelling is unique, you’re not doing your child a favor. You’re just setting him or her up for a lifetime of spelling his or her name out to strangers.

  76. A friend of mine is teaching preschoolers or elementary kids or something and one of her students is named Diamondee Crystal [common last name].

  77. Athena Bliss is cool. Persephone and Cassiopeia are high on my list for girl names.

  78. TimC: “Bernadette” –

    all your excuses aside, we all know that it’s really a “Zoom” fetish. Admit it: that thing she did with her arms in the opening credits…

    🙂

  79. I can’t be bothered reading all of the comments, so someone may have already made this point. From personnel experience in the battleground they call the elementary school playground, being saddled with an odd name sucks.

    My first name while not totally off the wall is uncommon and my middle is my grandfather’s last name. Put this all together with a Germanic last name that lends itself to being made fun of and I took a lot of shit from other kids that I would not have had my name been Steven Robert MayorOmalleySuxs. Parents should consider how other kids are going to distort the names on the playground. A fourth grade boy doesn’t want to be an individual, he wants to be picked first when making up teams for kickball/dodge ball, assuming the little darlings are allowed to play such competitive sports on the playground (yo, fuck Oprah, NEA, lawyers and feminism)

    My ex- wanted to name our oldest son Ross Craig Hxxxxxxxxxxxxx. I had to explain to my ex- that no son of mine was going to have the initials RCH. For the uninformed, RCH = Red Cunt Hair = an undefined minute unit of measurement.

  80. I’d like to bring back old corny names. Gertrude for example.

  81. A unique name is all well and good, but if it’s too unique…

    I’ll be the one to do it:

    “Unique” means one-of-a-kind. Literally. Common usage be damned, there is no such thing as “very unique”, “more unique”, “too unique”, etc.

    I’ll accept my lumps willingly for being annoyingly pedantic.

  82. FN –

    My GF is a 1st grade teacher. While over the years she gets her share of Deshawns and the like, last year she had a “Queenleela [common middle] [common last]”. This poor girl is going to take some hit in latter years, especially becuase she was the very definition of obese kid. Fat kid + unusual name = unhappy kid.

  83. I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Penn Jillette’s take on the topic. I can’t seem to find the quote verbatem, but I once heard him say how prior to naming his daughter Moxie CrimeFighter he talked to various people with unique names and all said they really appreciated it. He said the only people who didn’t seem to like it were people with names like John, and who the fuck cares what somebody named John thinks? Anyway, I still wouldn’t name my kids anything too crazy (for our son and daughter we went with old traditional names that aren’t very common any more as opposed to just making them up), but I do think Penn makes a good point that if people with “stupid” baby names like them, then who cares what anybody else thinks?

  84. Al B. Ware, will you marry me?

  85. VM: oh god I forgot about that. With the creppy do-da-do-loo music.

    It strikes me that names once reserved for porn stars and strippers are now mainstream.

    I’d love to see a comparison of poularity between biblical names vs. porn names.

  86. “Zoie Skye” which word do you think is mis-spelled?

    Sky = well, the sky
    Skye = Island on the NW coast of Scotland

    My golden retriver is named Skye.

  87. At the parks in Manhattan I’ve come across “Symphony”, “Storm”, “Story” and “Atticus.”

    No playdates for them.

  88. There’s a Catholic tradition of naming your kid for the saint who has the same feast day as the kid’s birthday. My wife and I liked the idea until our kid ended up being born on St. Eusebius’s day.

    We give the kids the saint’s name as a middle name. As a result, I have two with middle names “Alphonsus” and “Godric.” (We went by the pre-1969 calendar, or else Alphonsus would have been Eusebius.)

  89. I don’t have any kids, but if I do, I will name him/her after the person (entity?) who I hold in the highest regard. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you URKOBOLD b. Either that or Juanita Dondero b.

  90. Dread Zeppelin. That’s the group that morphed “Stairway to Heaven” and the Gilligan’s Island theme, right?

  91. In italian families the tradition is to name the first born son after his paternal grandfather and the first born daughter after the maternal* grandmother. the next son after the maternal grandpa and so on.

    So it’s sort of like you have a friend named Aldo and every time you see him it’s how’s your cousin Aldo, Aldo? And your other cousin Aldo? If grandpa had a lot of sons there’s a hell of a lot of cousins with the same name.

    *After I typed that I wasn’t sure if I had it right. Given how chauvanistic Italians are it might be paternal. But then they also worship motherhood. And they probably have some of the tightest family ties of almost any cultural group.

  92. I’m just glad my name doesn’t sound ridiculous when screamed out during sex. Imagine hearing your boyfriend (or girlfriend) yelling out, “Oh, Apple. Come on, Apple. Come, baby.”

    I’d bust out laughing.

  93. When I meet the fucker that named me ‘Sue’ I’m gonna kick his ass . . . .

  94. This means that the name’s not even unique – it’s just a real inconvenience to everyone who will ever have to spell it. It’s as if I put a silent X in my name just for fun, to fuck with teachers, clerks, customer service reps, etc. for all time.

    Speaking as a Hubert from a long line of Huberts, you’re not fucking with the people taking your name because they could give a rat’s ass how it’s spelled. Give the kid an unusual name and you have condemned them to a lifetime of arguing with paper pushers in an attempt to get all their documentation to be correct. It’s a fucking joy, let me tell you.

    Thanks, Dad!

  95. “but I do think Penn makes a good point that if people with “stupid” baby names like them, then who cares what anybody else thinks?”

    If Penn Gillette wants to change his own name to Moxie Crime Fighter, good for him. The problem is that he is sticking his kid with a name that screams “my parents were retarded, please beat me up in home room.”

  96. Oh, yeah, I almost forgot.

    Bad baby names

  97. My last name already has a silent ‘Y’ in the middle of it, so I have to go with something simple.

    Sigh

  98. Jeff P – that’s right!

    but this moose is frightened to look for the clip of that on ut00b

  99. As usual my first name isn’t anywhere to be seen in the odd name article. You think you know naming oddities? Try on Rhett for a while. I’ve had to spell my name out more times than I am days old and then explain no that’s the first name. Only to watch the light bulb go on up stairs on the old people who actually get where it came from. Then I am promptly ask some stupid question about me giving a damn.

    When I meet the fucker that named me ‘Sue’ I’m gonna kick his ass . . .

    I laughed.

  100. SNL had a skit with, Nicholas Cage, IIRC, in which every name considered is rejected because of it’s potential for playground ridicule. At some point, there is a delivery at the door for “Ass wipe Jones” which Cage corrects as being pronounced “Az-Wee-Pe”.

    He then went and named his child the modern version of Asswipe Cage?

  101. I like having an unusual name and never found it difficult or unpleasant as a kid.

    My name is a family name, though, and not some stupid trendy bullshit. That is the funniest thing about these supposedly unusual names, they quickly become just as common and trendy as the old favorites.

    If I have kids, I think I will probably give them fairly normal first names, but lots and lots of interesting middle names. Why stop with just two or three names?

  102. The problem is that he is sticking his kid with a name that screams “my parents were retarded, please beat me up in home room.”

    My point (well, originally Penn’s, but a point with which I agree), though, is how do we know that’s actually true? Steven Levitt looked at funny names in Freakonomics and couldn’t find it creates any problems. Penn’s (albeit anecdotal) evidence suggested the same. By concluding that anybody with a unique name has retarded parents, aren’t we just reinforcing our own preconceived notions of what’s normal? Again, I’m not advocating that you have to name your kids something goofy (after all, I didn’t) but if someone else does, who cares? Absent some sort of actual evidence that a weird name causes one to get beat up, get passed over for jobs, etc., it seems silly to get worked up about it.

  103. Zeb – you’re the second one I know with that name. The other Zeb had a sibling called “Rip”. One of the nicest families around. Really cool people…

  104. I used to work with a Zebulon. It was his first name–he was a namedropper. We called him that all the time, preferring it to his “real” name.

  105. “Absent some sort of actual evidence that a weird name causes one to get beat up, get passed over for jobs, etc., it seems silly to get worked up about it.”

    I don’t get worked up about it anymore than I get worked up about people who run around with their fly open or wearing strange clothing. Yes, it is Gillette’s right to name his kid anything he wants. But it is also my right to call him an idiot for his choices.

  106. Pro,

    Zeb’s name could be Zebulon or Zebidiah. I kind of like Zebidiah myself.

  107. “I’ll accept my lumps willingly for being annoyingly pedantic.”

    Pedantic, hmm. Pedantic Smith sounds good!

  108. By concluding that anybody with a unique name has retarded parents, aren’t we just reinforcing our own preconceived notions of what’s normal?

    Absolutely. One my my preconceived notions is that being a retarded parent just isn’t normal.

  109. I’m named after Nolan Ryan, I like it, although noone seems to realize that I say Nolan, and not Melvin, or Noah.

    I’ve always said I was going to name my kid Jesus (not heysus, but jesus). Boy or girl.

    also, no reference to this classic Louis CK bit?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4u2ZsoYWwJA

  110. “Urban Legend” would be good names both for a child and a band.

  111. Speaking of baseball, did you notice that in 1910, the fifth most popular boys name was George, and the fifth most popular girls name was Ruth?

  112. Pinto,

    Ruth the baseball player wasn’t famous yet in 1910.

  113. I was once served in an Oakland Safeway by a young woman named Aquaneta. I must admit that I couldn’t restrain myself from performing a double take on her name badge.

  114. If people are going to name their children after alcohol, I think they could do worse than Cointreau

  115. I forgot one of my favorites: Learned. Like Judge Learned Hand or Michael Learned.

  116. The best names I’ve ever run across are Zoltan Ferenksy and Flex Plexico. Personally my plan is to go down the list of presidents I don’t hate, or maybe just give them numbers and let them choose their own name later.

  117. If it’s going to be an alcohol inspired name it should be Cardhu.

  118. I also like Learned.
    I also like Turgid, Lax, Accosted, Moist, and Relapsed.

  119. “If it’s going to be an alcohol inspired name it should be Cardhu.”

    or Ralph.

  120. “I forgot one of my favorites: Learned. Like Judge Learned Hand or Michael Learned.”

    I have a friend named Thomas William Mary Michael Learned. The priest unexpectedly threw Mary in with Michael when he was confirmed. Priests are power mad if you ask me.

    I also have a friend named Matilda Frances Henry Fairbourne Foster who I haven’t seen in a few years. Sure do miss her.

  121. In italian families the tradition is to name the first born son after his paternal grandfather and the first born daughter after the maternal* grandmother. the next son after the maternal grandpa and so on.

    Funny you mention that. My baptismal name, which I rarely use, is Salvatore for that very reason. I don’t mind the name Salvatore (or Sal), but my mother isn’t Italian and she thought the name sounded too ethnic, so she called me by my middle name (which is not Abdul) as did everyone else. I got used to responding to my middle name and hardly think of being a Salvatore.

    When i got married in the Catholic Church, they had to use my baptismal name. There was a second of confusion when the priest referred to me as Salvatore during the ceremony. Most of my relatives never knew my baptismal name, and the only Salvatore they knew was my departed grandfather.

  122. Learned Hand has many levels of meaning. It refers to a judge, to batin’, and should be a rock band.

    For those who don’t know, it’s pronounced Learn-Ed.

  123. I’ve always wanted to have children and give them Egyptian names: Akhenaten, Ankhesenamun, Smenkhare, Neferneferuaten, you know.

    I have a suspicion that will never come about, sadly.

  124. Oh, and I went to kindergarten with a girl named Jessynthia… like Jessica and Cynthia rolled into one. Pretty cool name actually.

  125. “Learned Hand has many levels of meaning. It refers to a judge, to batin’, and should be a rock band.”

    That is a good name for a band. I still like “The Joe Wilson Implosion” although that sounds better for a jazz fusion band. Buck Naked works for a progressive college party band. And the Zoodaddies works for a retro swing band.

  126. Jeff P, haha on naming your kid ‘moist’.

    I’ve talking about naming my firstborn son ‘Shit’ so he could be Shit Brown.

  127. Isn’t there a band called Moistened Bint? Or is that Watery Tart?

  128. It’s Zebulon. People do tend to guess Zebadiah (or however you want to spell it) first.

  129. We should go back to the Roman system and name our kids things like “Primus”, “Secundus”, “Quintus”, “Octavia”, etc.

  130. If we had a girl, I wanted to name her Claudia, but my wife said that was lame 😉

  131. Hazel,

    The total number of first names (praenomen) that Romans used was very small, particularly for women. In fact, even that died off, with women being named after the feminine version of their clan name (nomen). Hence, Julia, Flavia, Claudia.

  132. I call shenanigans, on either the story or the church going.

    The shenanigans I call are on the church, but to be fair, biblical literacy nowadays is most commonly honored in the breach. Kumbaya would be more recognizable a name. Now when I was a lad… [insert drone]

    Sadly, the shenanigans are really just my mother-in-law and the other “church ladies” who like to dictate morality to everyone, but don’t know their own canon.

  133. For those who don’t know, it’s pronounced Learn-Ed.

    “Oh, papa Homer, you’re so learn-ed.”

    No, Tibor, the word is learned. Leeaarned.”

  134. I had a college friend who wanted to give her future children names wherein the second letter was “y.” After Cyril and Cyrus she ran short of options.

    She was also very picky — she once refused a second date with a guy because she didn’t like the way he held his fork, so I doubt she’s made much progress on making the kids in the first place.

    I’ve always been partial to Eastern European names — Aleksei, Tatiana, Dragoslav, Miroslav (or Slavomir) etc. And Athanasius, for some reason.

  135. if its a boy…Joe
    if its a girl Kundy Gundy Esmerelda Gutzmeyer Kertzinger Smith.

  136. There are silly names out there, but I don’t see the problem with Apple, Suri, or Shiloh. “Shiloh” has a pedigree, “Suri” certainly sounds like a name, and I find “Apple” rather charming.

  137. I have been lobbying to inflict Hubert on future generations, under the “old family tradition” ploy but really because misery loves company.

    I also proposed Nathaniel Ishmael Gxxxxxxx and Jessica Irene Gxxxxxxx, but was shot down for those as well.

  138. I was saddled with an unusual name, so I’m inclined to say “screw that bullshit” when it comes to naming my (to date purely theoretical) kids, but then again, whenever I think up names, they do tend to be slightly unusual, so… I think a lot of names go in cycles anyway: first they’re common, then they’re the names that only old geezers have, then after the geezers die off, they become old-timey and romantic.

    And yeah, it’s got nothing to do with “individualism”. If you want to be a special flower, change your own damn name. “I want my kid to be an individual!” Your kid’s going to be an individual anyway, dumbass. He/she could be a fascinating, world-changing Michael/Jennifer or a boring, lame Ja’dren/Kyeleighe, or vice versa. The only thing you’re giving them is a lifetime of having to spell their name out very slowly every day.

  139. I’ve noticed a strange tendency to use misspellings for names, like Aunjanue. For reasons I can’t quantify putting ‘Da’ as a prefix to a name is very popular among Blacks.

  140. Best band name I ever heard was a band in eastern NC who spelled it “Jesusy” but pronounced it “Hey Susie”.

  141. I named my son Chester (Chet for short) after my Grandpa. I like those good old meat ‘n’ taters Iowa farmer names like Gramps and his pals had; Gus, Elmer, Magnus, Jerome, etc. It’s an unusual name for a 13-year old but my son digs it.

    I wanted to name my daughter Thalia for the Greek muse of comedy, but the wife put the kibosh on that one. She ended up yet another Emily.

    I don’t mind the “inventive” names, as long as inventive spelling isn’t involved. And for God’s sake, enough with the frigging punctuations — apostrophes, semicolons, umlauts.

  142. The name a parent gives his kid says speaks volumes about that parent. Every time I see a kid named Dakota or Tanner or Corey or Kayleigh I feel like putting my fist through that hippy parent’s touchy-feely face.

  143. But the absolute fucking worst is parents who insist on having the names of everyone of their kids start with the same fucking initial even if it means inventing the most retarded names on the face of the fucking earth to accomplish that “feat”.

  144. Beware of Hungarian fathers, who (I’m told) all dream of naming their boy Attila.

  145. But the absolute fucking worst is parents who insist on having the names of everyone of their kids start with the same fucking initial

    Not a Roger Clemens fan, I take it?

  146. anarch – one of the most badass thai fighters i once knew is named “Attila Hawk”. real name…

  147. I heard about this family that named their kids Track, Trig, Bristol, Willow, and Piper. But that’s probably an urban legand.

  148. Names are interesting- I read a lot of comments saying that my name is rather ugly and unattractive, when I don’t have a problem with it. I do like the spelling of “Stefanie” much better than “Stephanie” even though no one can spell it correctly; it’s more unique, and I think it looks nicer.

    I’m a fan of more old fashioned names myself; there’s no way I want to give my kids (if I ever have any) names that everyone else has, but I’m not going to make up something ridiculous, either. Currently, I really like Alistair and Anastasia (it’s coincidental that they start with the same initial).

    My grandma knew someone who named a child “Placenta”…now that is simply cruel.

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