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Forbidden Baby Names: Where to draw the line?

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In her Nameberry 9 this week, Appellation Mountain‘s Abby Sandel ponders whether there are some names that cross the line– whether there are such things as forbidden baby names.

This week’s baby name news has me wondering: what makes a name truly off limits?  I don’t mean names that just aren’t your style, but names that actually strike you as inappropriate, even unfair, to give to a child.

It’s a tough line to draw.  Some names are fine until they’re paired with a specific surname, like famed Texas philanthropist Ima Hogg.  Others have associations that are difficult to shake, be they positive or otherwise.  Would you name a child Elmo? Adolf seems like a burden, but what if your beloved grandpa was an Adolf?

Creative respellings put many parents off, while others have negative reactions to surnames, invented names, place names … the list is endless.  But when does it cross the line from not for me, thanks, into who does that?

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