Bad Baby Names: Are any names gone forever?

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?

Or is there a chance for every name–even Adolph–to be resurrected?

And let us know if you have any ideas for a great Question of the Week.

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62 Responses to “Bad Baby Names: Are any names gone forever?”

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LJandRL Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 4:57 am



ycw Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 7:05 am

Dorcas is a girls’ name….

My picks that weren’t mentioned above:

Girls’ names, I’m not sure anything is beyond coming back; probably Fannie is…

mermuse Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:12 am

I totally disagree with Enid not coming back! It’s one of my favorite names! I think it’s beautiful.

I think there is potential for almost any name to come back, but there are names which have been killed due to the person who bore them, such as:


klcalder2 Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:27 am

I can see Enid coming back, too. I have to agree with the pp. I think most any girl’s name can make even a small comeback, but a lot of names that might have a certain stigma stuck to them would have a hard time making a comeback.

One that has been discussed recently on the forums is Hippolyta. There’s still some potential, but I don’t think there’s enough to out weight the fact that Hippo is in the name. The first poster also mentioned Bertha.

As for boy’s names, I again agree with the pp. There are certain names attached to certain people that make them virtually unusable. Then again, I didn’t think that Damian was very usuable due to The Omen, but I actually know one who’ll be a year in Oct. Some names might be unusable to you but not to others.

Jenny Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:32 am

I think Fanny and Hortense will have some trouble, mostly because they’re dirty now. Everything else still has hope. (I personally love Bertha and have ever since I read Rilla of Ingleside.)

Lola Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:39 am

I disagree about Bendeict being killed, I know several Benedict’s between the ages of newborn – 10.
Fifi will come back, as a nickname, for the up & coming Josephine. Mine uses Fifi fairly often! Enid’ll absolutely come back, I have a cousin expecting a tiny Enid in November!

Jemima is one that I’ll personally use if I get a chance.

Bambi Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:41 am

This is what I honestly think when I hear the following

Chester –“…as in Molester?”

Ralph –“well if you’re feeling ill you’re more than welcome to lie down”

Peggy –“wait, are you talking about Gas Station Peggy, or Trailer Park Peggy?”

Trina –“…and coming to the stage next, it’s TRRRRINA!”

agirlinred Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:47 am

I think Hyman and Cletus are on the permanent no-no list.

Sj Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:56 am


Have to agree about Adolph and Judas. When you start naming your attack dogs these names I just never see them circling back for you child.

L. Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:30 am

Horace, Lester, Bessie, Agnew, Elmo, Grover, Ernie, Ebenezer, Jezebel

alexa400 Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:39 am

I agree with Gay & Dorcus at least in countries where these have come to have different meanings. The others (even Adolph & Judas) I could see making a come back in certain countries & cultures…

LabMama Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:39 am

I have a serious love for the name Enid. I don’t know what it is. …Perhaps, my memories of my older sister’s Sweet Valley High game. I always wanted to be Enid, she was quirky, and a brunette, like me. I’d have never been one of those mega popular twins, Jessica or Elizabeth Wakefield!

Some names I don’t think we’ll see again: Adolf, Lester, Beulah, Dorcas/Doris.

Ashley Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:43 am

I have to agree with Adolph, Bertha, Dorcas and Peggy remaining unfavourable. Not Judas or Benedict, though (esp with the Lady Gaga song “Judas”). Even Fanny- though I don’t think it’ll ever make a comeback, I wouldn’t rule it out.

Mcmom Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:51 am

Too bad about Fanny–I love the actress Fanny Ardant. But that name can’t work in the US or UK. Agree as to Ebenezer, Adolph, Judas, Gaylord, Egbert, Lester, Hyman, Helga, & Dorcas. Not sure I’d rule out some of the others mentioned. Also, Ham, Milton (too bad because I love his writing), Herbert, Theobald, Eglentine, Benito.
Hoping Mildred and Irving make a comeback one day–Millie is such a cute nn and Irving has a great meaning.
And did someone named “Bambi” call out the rather-common nn Trina as a pole-dancer? haha.

Mcmom Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:54 am

Oh! Uriah. That was mentioned elsewhere.

spotlightstarlit Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:54 am

I think boys names, rather than girls, have more of a chance of disappearing, due to most mommies desire to keep their sons names ‘known’ and respected.

Adolph/Adolf and anything ‘Gay’ is out, though Gale may make an interesting boys name in the future, what with The Hunger Games rising up to become the next Twilight.

Blessings <3

Eliza Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 11:32 am

I really have to disagree with both Ebenezer and Jezebel. The “Z” consonant, the potential for excellent nicknames. And Jezebel has that “bel” syllable that’s so popular! Personally, Ebenezer is in my family tree and it’s on my Boys’ Names list. And I agree with the people who think Enid is gonna come back. It’s got that cool, effortless vibe to it. And remember, Benedict is only a synonym for traitor here in the United States. It’s just a cute alternative to Benjamin in the UK and elsewhere.

Adolph, though – not gonna happen. And anything with “Gay” as a nickname.

Erin Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 11:45 am

I could definitely see Jezebel, Enid and Benedict making a comeback, especially Benedict. Ben is such a familiar nickname and the connection to Benedict Arnold doesn’t seem that strong, even in the US.

Lola Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 11:49 am

Aww, Clyde! My niece has a teddy named Clyde! At least no one’s mentioned Clancy, I’ll use that one given a chance!

samjaymc Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 11:51 am

I have to disagree with Bessie.
I know a fair few Bessie’s.
The most recent one was born to a close family friend only six days ago.

Other Carolyn Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

This question always seems to spark debate! I think that almost all names can come back, except for those that have become proper words or are spelled very similarly to proper words (eg Hyman, Gay). Slang words change, though even if it takes some time, so slang-sounding names stand a chance. Dick is already a bit juvenile when it comes to slang, at least in this part of the world — give it maybe 50-100 years and perhaps no-one will remember or care (Willy as slang is closer to begin forgotten, I think).

The Dictator/Disaster set could take longer, though I have heard of a few real life, though perhaps not very historically aware, parents choosing Napoleon, so maybe Adolf will come back in about 2150? Adolph probably stands a better chance though.

Kitty Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 12:13 pm

I agree with Dorcas, Gay, Bertha, and Adolf. I love Fanny, but that one might take a while. As for Benedict and Judas, their reputations are ancient, and people have been and still are using them. I don’t think that they’re gone, at least not forever.

Trustedwriter Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

I so hope Ebenezer comes back, at least to the point where it no longer screams “Scrooge”! I love that name for its Biblical significance, and we had the hymn “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” in our wedding, particularly because of the phrase “here I raise my Ebenezer / hither by Thy help I’ve come”. I am sooooo tempted to use it as a middle name for our next boy. Our son’s middle name is Theophilus, so we’ve set a pretty high bar, haha.

strangeasang3ls Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Dorcas, Judas, Adolph, Hortense, Hyman, Gay/Gaye, Gaylord, Fanny, Elmo/Grover/Kermit.
I have a distant ancestor named Sufferana, I don’t see that making a comeback anytime soon.
Benedict is nice, and I would be more likely to skip it because of “eggs benedict” than Benedict Arnold. I do know my history, but I don’t think that many people associate it with him these days.
Finally, nameberry likes to push Amity, but I really can’t think of anything except “-ville Horror” when I hear that name.

Henny Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 12:33 pm

I am so surprised by Other Carolyn’s comment comparing Napoleon to Hitler! I wouldn’t consider Napoleon a dictator, and I would also anticipate it the other way around: historically aware parents using Napoleon while historically unaware parents avoid it. The current history trend (and yes, there are history trends, and they are strong and many) tends toward an interpretation of Napoleon as a man of the people acclaimed by the masses and overthrown by the paranoid crowned heads of Europe who couldn’t stomach the thought of a recent commoner in their ranks. But I think time equalizes; the name Alexander is incredibly common, though the historical Alexander has also come under fire (in a certain historical trend) for the number of deaths his campaigns caused. In a few hundred years, I don’t doubt that Adolph will be much more usable than it is now, but hopefully it will take at least that long. I actually really love the name Hannibal (another trend: even Vin Diesel is a fan of the general), but I recognize that I’m about the only person in the world who hasn’t seen Silence of the Lambs and wouldn’t have that association. I love a lot of names like Helga and even Dorcas (think Julie Newmar as the luminous Dorcas in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers), and can see them coming up again if certain cultural associations die down. But I would think that the name Margaret was unusable after the popularization of margarine, but I would be wrong. I would have put Silas on this list five years ago as way too ugly for anyone to resort to, and I would have been, sadly, wrong again.

Claire Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 12:57 pm


Other Carolyn Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 1:31 pm

I didn’t mean that Napoleon was just as bad as Hitler, but he was certainly hated in his day, and awareness of that has somewhat faded (he is the man who gave us the term bogeyman, after all). I meant simply that parents in the 1850s were as horrified by the notion of calling a child Napoleon as we are of calling one Adolf, despite the lack of genocide (I had a letter bookmarked somewhere of one parent discussing this very thing in about 1855).

(And as far as I have been taught and some of my history-studying friends suggest, the jury is very much out on whether Napoleon was a nice guy or a despotic ruler, but he definitely did some nasty things and had some rotten values that many people overlook or are unaware of because it’s more fun to make jokes about him being short, which he wasn’t.)

Sj Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 1:53 pm

I agree about Julie Newmar – but would you really, truly name your child Dorcas the Dork?

Some others to consider that might not be coming back –


And here is an idea for question of the week – what would you use from the list of names occurring 5 times last year? In other words = what is useable from the bottom of the list?

cassie Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

I think…

I think all these names are terrible and that most people would dislike them, as for Adolf a very bad association goes with it.

Boston Girl Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 5:05 pm

I’m a little surprised by all the professed love for Enid. To me, Enid looks similar to Emil, which looks too close to evil…sorry, Enid lovers!

I think Horace (and related Horatio) are out for a very long time yet, if not for good. My grandfather’s name was Horace, and even my grandmother said she would have never named her child after him (and Grandpa knew it; for all I know, he agreed with her!). Incidentally, referring to Sj’s list, Grandpa’s brother was named Elmer and one of his sisters was Velma. Curious, no?

Others I think shouldn’t come back:
Betty — every third woman of a certain age seems to be a Betty.

I’m less opinionated about boys’ names, but I don’t think any boy should be named Horace, Horatio, Ebenezer (hey, if the Scrooge association has lasted this long, who’s to say it will wear off, considering the Dickens connection, which is still classic after a century and a half?), Uriah, or Ulysses, which I think is the ugliest-looking boys’ name in existence. (That seems to be my beef with most of the names I don’t like: the sound of the name, and/or the combination of its constituent letters, just don’t appeal to me.)

Yet I like Jemima, Dwayne, Ernie and Trina. I had a neighbor named Ernie in my early childhood…an incredibly nice, easygoing fellow everybody liked. I see nothing at all wrong with Dwayne or Duane, and Jemima is just cute. Trina is cute too, though I prefer Katrina, hurricane or not! 🙂

Jen Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 8:31 pm

One name which I NEVER see making a comeback is “Hepzibah”. My great-grandmother was called it and my Grandma told me the other day that she never went by it. My Grandmother herself hated it as does my Dad and I. Four generations equally hate the name – I think that’s enough to say it will never have a comeback!

As for all the other names, I think someone, somewhere may like it. Trying to rack my brain for names equally as bad is this one I can only think of ancient bible names?

I don’t love Enid myself but would consider using it as a mn because I adored Enid Blyton as a child. Blyton might be a better namesake though.

Cinda Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I wouldn’t be able to name my child Jezebel because of the meaning. In the bible used to describe a women who taught people about sexual immoraltiy and I wouldn’t want my child to ever be associated with that. I think that the way the people who had the name before impacted me would decide whether I would use it on a child like for instance I would use Benedict in a heartbeat but had I not met a Benedict before it would be different.

Mary Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Adolph definitely. I can’t see that one being used now. Gaylord as well. Dorcas, I would say. Lettice as well. (Lettuce, anyone? It’s a ridiculous name.) And Egbert maybe. It’s unappealing in many ways.

iris1973 Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I think once a particular word enters the national vernacular and said word is a prominent sound in a name, that name is probably dead in the dirt. Example: Hortense and Horace…the “whore” sound is enough to keep them buried forever. But everything else is up for grabs, as most of the ones mentioned here are just matters of (current popular) opinion. If you consider that 50 years ago people would have scoffed at many of the names we now consider trendy and chic, it’s folly to assume that something can NEVER come back/become popular. Indeed, many names resurface precisely because they have been deemed hopelessly unusable and people are looking for something outside the box and/or shockingly unhip. It seems that these days, the only thing worse than being unhip is to be thought of as *too* hip.

Cat Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I saw Grover mentioned a couple of times as a name that people don’t think will come back. My son’s name is Benton Grover! Half the time people think of Grover from Sesame Street, but the other half they mention Grover Cleveland. My birthing nurse actually said Benton Grover sounded presidential while I was taking a breather in between pushes. lol Most of the time we call him both of his names so it’s not a MN that’s hidden. We love his name and couldn’t possibly imagine our little Benton Grover with any other.
I definitely agree that the names that partially contain an undesirable word will be the ones to never return. i.e. Hortense, Dorcas, Gaylord.

chakrateeze Says:

June 29th, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I had a great-uncle named Ertie Guy. Why he was named that I have no clue. Guess it must’ve been a country thing. Even as a child I used to have to fight a grimace of distaste whenever my grandmother mentioned her brother. I also hate Homer, Adolph, Raoul, and Dick.

For girls, I hate Gladys, Bernice, Gertrude, Eunice, and Katrina (used to remind me of “Katrina and the Waves” of the 80’s “Walking in the Sunshine” fame, now it is indelibly linked in my mind to destruction and pain.)

ycw Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 6:18 am

Sorry to all the Enid fans–see, I knew no matter what I picked, someone would say, But I love that name! 🙂

Bertha–if “th” comes back–it seems pretty out right now, but I bet it will–Bertha will come back at least a little. Just call her “Birdie.” I like Martha, so I can see the appeal of Bertha.

Bessie is definitely not out completely; remember she and Betty have Elizabeth to fall back on. I want an Elizabeth Susan–after my grandmas–and though I prefer Beth I bet I’d call her Betty Sue now and then (after my grandmas as well).

Beulah I like. It’s not on my list, but I’d love to meet a little Beulah. Some people like Eula, so why not?

I love Ebenezer! Trustedwriter, please use it. I gave the name to a child I miscarried. I love the meaning–and remember, Ebenezer turned it around! So it shouldn’t be any more unusable than Nebuchadnezzar… oh, wait.

Some people think Elmo is adorable. Once that puppet leaves the scene–if he ever does–it’s start popping up here and there, at least as a nickname.

I don’t care for Ernie, but my grandfather and an uncle were Ernest and went/go by Ernie. I do think Ernest is handsome as a middle name, and perhaps he’d make a good brother to Grace, Hope, and Felicity?

Eunice–I want to like it, but can’t. Still, I can see someone liking it, especially if the -is/ice ending really comes back. I want to like Hepzibah too, though that one is probably just too awkward…. but sometimes all it takes is one popular, pretty starlet. Who woulda predicted Miley?

I find Godfrey handsome.

Horatio seems usable. To me the first syllable is more like “her.” Horace not so much, more because of horse. And the longer the name, the more it takes you away from the first syllable–I think Hortensia is more usable than Hortense.

Trina is pretty. I don’t think it’s a “stripper name,” and even if it is, it won’t seem that way in 40 years. Her granddaughter won’t know how Granny Trina paid her way through college.

Uriah–I wish it wasn’t out. Pretty sure it is, but it ought to be so handsome. And there’s not a whole lot of U names out there.

Velma is certainly not out forever. Perceived geekiness isn’t an issue if one is a geek, and I bet most kids growing up 10 years from now won’t have a clue who Scooby-Doo is anyway.

Violet Says:

June 30th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

I’ve always liked the sound of Beulah but since reading US name sites it seems to be wildly unpopular. I’m from England and I’d never heard of it there until I started reading about names. Can anyone shed some light on what kind of impression the name gives and why people don’t like it?

I’ve noticed Vera has had some recent popularity on American baby name sites but where I’m from it’s still considered old and unattractive – possibly due to a brassy soap character that was on tv in the UK for nigh on 30 years.

Chelseamae Says:

July 1st, 2011 at 9:57 am

Boys- Kermit (the frog)

C in DC Says:

July 1st, 2011 at 11:05 am

I’ll be surprised if Edna resurfaces in my lifetime.

I have a friend who named her son Horatio, only to end up changing it under intense family pressure.

Julie Says:

July 2nd, 2011 at 1:40 am

I think Beavis, Garfield, Lolita, Dilbert, Sambo, Guido, Hebe, Bart are gone forever.

Brighton Says:

July 4th, 2011 at 4:19 am

Worst names that I think will NEVER be revived:

Gayson or Gaylord or Gaybel
Hitler (There was a kid I knew named Hitler)
Adolph or Adolpha
Helga or Hulga
Gretchen (that is TOTALLY fetch!)

KatieB Says:

July 5th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I disagree about Benedict, Elmo, & Harry (Um Harry Potter anyone?) Elmo I think of Elmo’s fire before Sesame Street…And I’m sure that once Sesame Street is long gone Elmo will come back too. It has a nice sound sort of a combo of the more popular Elliot and Milo. Heck I wouldn’t be afraid to use Benedict, Elmo or Harry even today.

As for Peggy…I actually know a Peggy (aged ~25) so she is fairly young…I could see this name sticking around even if it doesn’t climb on the charts.

Not coming back: Dorcas, Gaylord, Hester, And many of the Puritan names…Providence, Comfort, Discipline, Elected, Forsaken, Humble, Obedience, Repentence, Limitation.

Salome Says:

July 5th, 2011 at 5:44 pm

I just want to give a third vote of confidence to Ebenezer! What a lovely meaning for a name. Not to mention, it’s incredibly fun to say.

Amy Says:

July 8th, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Ebenezer will never return. Gaylord or Gay will never come back. Hitler will never find it’s way on the popularity charts again, same goes for Adolph. Naming your child Katrina is just cruel.
These are the names that should never be seen again.

*person* Says:

July 9th, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Let’s just worry about names that NEED TO GO AWAY (I’m talking to you, Trinity, Justice and Nevaeh, and Renesme), rather then names that might come back,

But some names like Fanny, Adolf (it’s a nice name really, just bad association), Dick, and if Gaylord was really ever a name (which I doubt it was) it will never come back.

Shawnee Says:

July 10th, 2011 at 4:10 am


Jen Says:

July 10th, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I think that in this day and age, any ‘way-out’ name is only ever one good, popular fictional character away from making a comeback.

If the next Harry Potter’s name is Adolph (with some appropriate lampshading of the character having such an unfortunate name) I think that could eclipse atrocities that are already going on a hundred years old.

Never is a long time.

Teri Says:

July 28th, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Olga (my grandmother’s name)

Harold (even tho Harry just might be back…as in Harry Potter)

Bertha Says:

July 31st, 2011 at 11:13 pm

I have to disagree about “Bertha” – not only because it is my name, but b/c to-date it is still popular in places like Germany and variations such as “Berta” are popular in South American countries.

AJ_Bear Says:

August 7th, 2011 at 3:57 am

I know a Dorcus, and it’s sad to say that her name suits her. Of course, she’s not young. I think she’s in her sixties at least. Anyway, I’m gonna say Dorcus and Adolph are just a few names that are dead. So dead that you should just put away that revival kit and call TOD. Was that too much?

Brook Says:

August 7th, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Oral, Enos…

mjeezy13 Says:

August 26th, 2011 at 2:51 am

@Violet, I guess over here in the US we see Beulah the way you see Vera…an old granny name not ready to be revived yet. I wouldn’t say it’s gone for good though.

I actually went to school with a Dorcas back in school who is now in her mid-twenties. She was a year or two younger and I didn’t know her well, but I do remember feeling bad for her having to carry such a name. I’m almost certain she had foreign parents who didn’t realize what they were doing to her. At least that’s how I like to justify it in my head, lol. I also know of a Horace around the same age.

I agree about Hortense, Gaylord, and Adolf not coming back, at least for a looooong long time. Lucifer is one that I don’t foresee ever making a comeback. Way too heavy for any kid to pull off.

Miladyrigel Says:

October 30th, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Oh someone already posted it… Nimrod. I have an Great Great Great Uncle with that name. That and I had a Great Aunt named Maude who became Maude Odd when she married. What an atrocious name! I agree with Adolph. And I agree with Dorcas; even though I love Seven Brides for Seven Brothers! And Hepzibah was supposedly going to be the little babies name in that movie, but she named her Hannah instead, whew! I’m not sure if Gay or Gaylord has bite the dust yet.

R_J Says:

March 1st, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Trina doesn’t remind anyone else of latrine?

kitchi1 Says:

April 4th, 2012 at 11:37 pm

Edgar, Gertrude, Bartholomew, Ebenezer, Gaylord, Gay, Elmo, Kermit

watermellie Says:

August 6th, 2012 at 9:08 am


leonielee Says:

August 16th, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I really hope Clyde does come back, I love that name! It’s my great-grandfather’s name and I think it has a cool, rebel vibe to it. One name that showed up repeatedly on my family tree that I think will stay buried- Silence!

Namestory Says:

August 19th, 2012 at 2:52 pm

A lot of people have mentioned Ursula. Well, check out this awesome blog entry of a 32-yr-old Ursula who LOVES her name!

Mara_lyn86 Says:

August 20th, 2012 at 5:13 pm

I agree with Dorcas and Fanny, and I also have a hard time seeing Hildegarde coming back in the states.
For boys I would have to also agree with Adolph and Judas. They have too strong of associations to ever come back for me.
I honestly don’t think that any name will be gone forever. Someone bold enough will use it just because they want to be different and they don’t care about what other people think. I admire that thinking because we shouldn’t care about what others think, but of course if it is a name that is awful like Dorcas maybe we should.

bex.marie Says:

January 9th, 2013 at 12:16 am

I am not sure if there is any name that has no chance of coming back. I can see all the names being used at some point.
Benedict is on my list of boy names if I can get my husband to agree.

RainstreamofSpiritClan Says:

July 19th, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Yeah, Adolph would be a bad baby name. Which is kind of sad because if it wasn’t for Hitler it would be a perfectly good anme with a really cool meaning.

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