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X Æ A-12: Craziest celebrity baby name ever

May 6, 2020 Pamela Redmond
elon musk baby name

There are unique celebrity baby names, and then there are really unique celebrity baby names. The list of Top Baby Names of 2020, celebrity version, has got to be led by the Elon Musk-Grimes baby name, X Æ A XII.

When I first heard about the baby boy’s name, originally X Æ A-12, I thought it had to be a publicity stunt, or a joke. 

I didn’t want to have to figure out how to type that weird letter in the middle, much less pronounce X Æ A-12. I mean, do the spaces between the letters or the hyphen even have a pronunciation? Do you just pause?

If I held off writing something, I figured, maybe they’d announce that the baby’s name was something sensible like Psalm or Moxie Crimefighter or even Tesla. In fact, the name of Musk’s car company is becoming practically a normal baby name, given to over 100 baby girls and seven boys last year.

But it looks as if I, along with that defenseless baby, are stuck with dealing with this absurd (there, I said it) name for the rest of our lives. 

New father Musk, who recently called stay-at-home orders “fascist”, announced the baby’s name via Twitter:

elon musk baby nameGrimes, whose legal name is c, as in the speed of light (she was born Claire Elise Boucher), “explained” the baby’s name like this:

grimes baby name

In response to a question on whether she and Musk realized they were naming a human being, not a piece of music, Grimes said:

grimes baby name

Okay, I can vibe with that too. Lots of parents today are giving their babies names inspired by literature, like Eloise or Holden or even Story. They’re inventing new name spellings, turning words into names, creatively finding ways to make their children’s names unique.

Once you open the door on a name trend, you can’t get it back in the barn, especially if a celebrity’s running loose in the field. I mean, if you can name a baby Paris or Kenya, why NOT Chicago? If Seven can be a name, why can’t 12?

And if you can spell Olivia Alyveah, why can’t you spell Xavier X Æ A-12? That was one theory about what the strange collection of letters and numbers was meant to represent, until someone pointed out that Musk ALREADY has a son named Xavier. He has in fact five older sons, a set of twins plus a set of triplets, with the regulation names Griffin, Xavier, Damian, Kai, and Saxon. Okay, well, Saxon may have sounded a warning bell.

Perhaps X  Æ A-12 is simply a baby name of the future, and will one day come to seem as normal as Blue and Suri do now. After all, the pool of baby names is constantly expanding, and the number of babies receiving truly unique names is growing all the time.

Some wackily-named celebrity children famously changed their names to something more “normal”: Barbara Hershey and David Carradine’s son Free, for instance, renamed himself Tom when he was nine. Others, like Dweezil Zappa, have leaned into what started as a nickname (he was christened Ian Donald Calvin Euclid).

And what of little X Æ A-12? He might grow up to have lots of friends with unconventional punctuation and characters in their names. Maybe he’ll call himself Exie. But don’t look for X Æ A-12 to show up in Nameberry’s database any time soon.

About the author

Pamela Redmond

Pamela Redmond is the cocreator and CEO of Nameberry. The coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books, Redmond is an internationally-recognized name expert, quoted and published widely in such media outlets as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Today Show,, CNN, and the BBC. Redmond is also a New York Times bestselling novelist whose books include Younger, the basis for the hit television show, and its new sequel, Older.

View all of Pamela Redmond's articles

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