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Category: forbidden baby names

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Nameberry 9 by Abby Sandel, Appellation Mountain

A French film made its US debut this week.  What’s in a Name? takes us to a dinner party.  A happy couple announces that they’re expecting a son, and they’ve chosen a name.

Adolphe.

It’s as scandalous a choice in French as it would be in English, and the fellow guests are aghast.

The party goes downhill from there.  Other guests are criticized for their children’s “pretentious” names: Myrtille and Apollin.

Such scathing comments are usually reserved for gossip, or maybe anonymous online forums.  Can you imagine yourself in a social setting, hearing your child’s name ripped to shreds?  Let’s hope the movie – and the play it is based on – are pure fiction.

Then again, even if Adolf is your beloved grandfather’s given name, I would think long and hard about giving the name to a son.  It’s one of a very few names, like Lucifer, that strike me as off limits for good reason.

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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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Forbidden Baby Names

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When a name like Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii gets banned, it makes big news. But there are lots of other names that, now and since the beginning of recorded name time, have quietly been relegated to the forbidden list.  No judge may have pounded a gavel, no name-sensitive Napoleon decreed a law against outlandish names as he did in France.  But these names have nevertheless been shunned by parents in the Western World – and sometimes even by those who’ve been unlucky enough to be born with them.

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