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Category: bad baby names




by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Whose name is worse than mine?  Almost no one’s, by my lights. I’ve spent decades looking, and 99 percent of the names I hear are better than my own. Once in a great while, I do come across a name that I actually think is worse, and I view such names with both pity and awe–but more on this later.

What’s so bad about my name?  I come by it honorably enough; I was born in Chadera, Israel, where the name Yona was perhaps not so common as the Susans or Debbies that populated my grade school classrooms, but neither was it freakish.  Then my parents moved back to the United States and it did not occur to them to Anglicize my name, which was always confused or mangled: Yola, Yoda, Ona and Zona were a few of its many ungainly permutations. And coupled with my unusual last name, Zeldis, made for an even more confused reaction.

When I entered a new school in fourth grade, my teacher looked at the class list and said, “What is Yona Zeldis?”  I had to raise my hand and say, “It’s me.”  She thought it was a misprint and that it should perhaps have been Zelda Yonis; no such luck though.

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What Not to Name the Baby


By Pamela Redmond Satran

If you look at the very bottom of the Social Security name records, you’ll find plenty of ill-advised baby names that people actually choose, and really really shouldn’t have.

The baby names here were gathered from names given to five children in 2012.  To protect privacy, the government only records names used for five or more babies each year, so chances are there are even worse choices out there that didn’t make the official statistics.

Here, what not to name your baby, and why:


Ahmiracle and Dmiracle – There were nearly 800 girls named just plain Miracle, and then you’ve got your Jamiracles and your Lamiracles.  But we draw the line.

Assia – You just can’t give an American baby a name that contains the word “ass.”

Beautyful and Pretty – She better be.

Disney – Product placement?

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What Name Do You Love That Everyone Hates?


You might think of them as underdog names: The ugly, the awkward, the unpopular, or maybe the way too popular.

The names that most other people can’t stand that you secretly, or perhaps not so secretly, have an irrational, or perhaps perfectly rational, fondness for.

What are the names that you love that everyone else seems to hate?

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These Names Mean Trouble (Literally!)


Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we choose a name that’s just a – well, not a mistake, exactly. In many ways, it might be a perfectly lovely name. Except for that little black cloud hovering over it.

If you’re aware of the cloud – and by cloud, we mean things like an unsavory meaning or disreputable association – then fine. You’ve consciously considered the down side of the name and chosen to embrace it anyway. That’s cool.

The problem comes in if you pick a name and then find out three months or three years down the road that there’s something wrong with it. Something that makes people look at you – or worse, your child – strangely when the name is announced.

That’s when we call it a mistake.

Baby names that might elicit an Oooooops include:

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Question of the Week: Which, if any, names do you think will never come back?

What boys names and what girls’ names do you think have zero chance of making a comeback, and why?

Too stereotyped?

Bad, bad namesake—real or fictional?

Unpleasant/ugly sound?

Too tied to one era or event?

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