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Banned Baby Names: Iceland Rejects Lucifer

November 25, 2019 Emma Waterhouse

Add Lucifer to the long list of baby names banned in Iceland.

According to a report from Iceland Monitor, the controversial choice was recently rejected by the Icelandic Naming Committee after parents tried to give it to their newborn son.

Commenting on its decision, the Committee stated:

“Since the name Lucifer is one of the devil’s names, the Naming Committee believes it could cause the bearer embarrassment. Besides, the spelling of the name Lucifer cannot be considered in accordance with the general spelling rules of the Icelandic language, since the letter c is not part of the Icelandic alphabet.”

Despite its small size and population, the remote Nordic country has some of the strictest naming laws in the world. Icelandic parents must choose from a pre-approved list of baby names, or else apply for permission to use a name not yet listed.

Prospective new names must be compatible with Icelandic grammar, contain only letters from the Icelandic alphabet, and match the sex of the bearer in terms of traditional usage — something which caused one Icelandic teenager to be referred to as “Girl” in official correspondence for fifteen years. She finally won the right to use her given name, Blaer, in 2013 after a lengthy court battle.

Other baby names rejected by the Naming Committee in the past year include Ariel, Lady and Zelda for girls, and Aryan, Ezra and Sezar for boys.

Lucifer: Is it ever acceptable?

Well, the parents of the 26 baby Lucifers born in the US last year (as well as the six boys given the name in England & Wales) certainly seem to think so.

And playing devil’s advocate for a moment — groan, sorry! — we can sort of see the appeal. It’s got a lovely soft sound, a beautiful meaning (“bringer of light”), and that super stylish Lu– beginning and -er ending that today’s parents are loving: think Lucas and Luna, Archer and Harper.

Other controversial baby names have successfully caught on. Lilith and Delilah, once considered too daring for a daughter, are now mainstream: both Top 600 picks in the US, and both in the Top 100 most searched-for names here on Nameberry. And even less common names with dark and demonic backstories — like Azrael, Hades, Loki, Leviathan, Persephone and Nyx — are gaining in usage, too.

Comments on our name page for Lucifer are… mixed, to say the least: some calling it “strong and beautiful”; others arguing that it’s “irresponsible to saddle a child with such a contentious name.” One commenter explains that they used the name in real life because of its bright meaning: “Our son is a bringer of light to our world.”

What do you think? We’d love to hear your opinion!


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