Category: names with bad meanings
A visitor to our forums posed this question to the Berries: Would you give your child a name, a wonderful name that you truly love, if it had a negative meaning? How meaningful is the root meaning of a name, anyway?
The name in question was Kennedy, a name that has so much going for it: illustrious relatives, a stylish surname feel, a rhythmic sound, and growing popularity.
Some websites will try to tell you that Kennedy means “royal” or “loving” but it doesn’t. It means “misshapen head.” And that is the problem.
Or it’s the problem when, in fourth grade, the teacher decides to have the class do oral reports on their names: Where they came from, what they mean. And poor “misshapen head” is forced to announce her name’s unfortunate meaning in front of the whole class.
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:
Some parents put a lot of stock in the etymological definitions of names, while others brush that element aside as having little to do with a name’s real meaning and image in the modern world.
So, our question today is: how important a factor is the literal meaning to you when considering your name choices?
Would or did you actively seek out a name that means, say, strength or hope or love or beauty?
Would you rule out a name with a negative meaning, such as “pig” (Portia) or “crooked nose” (Cameron) or “crooked mouth” (Campbell) or “misshapen head” (Kennedy) or “bald” (Calvin), on the chance that your child will constantly be checking himself in the mirror for signs of a prophecy bestowed?
Or is this way down on your list of considerations—or maybe not even there at all?
NAMEBERRY WANTS TO KNOW!