Extinct Names That Sound Hilarious Today

Too strange to use, too funny to forget

A well-known rule of baby naming says that it takes about 100 years for a name to come back into fashion. That’s why we recently wrote a list of century-old names that are ready for a revival.

But not every vintage name deserves to be revived. We don’t predict the return of Hyman, for instance. Or Normal. Or Butler. Or Rube. Or Walburga. All these names were in use in 1918, given to at least five babies born that year, but are not used at all today.

They’re not alone. Nameberry analyzed Social Security data to discover over 5000 names that were given to babies a century ago but have now gone extinct.

Some of these names were obscure ethnic names, like Tsuyako and Mieczyslaw, that have faded from view as immigration patterns have shifted. Others are unusual variant spellings of names that have declined in popularity, like Ulysees and Lauraine. A few are usable, or even elegant.

But a lot of them are just plain funny to us now. We combed through the list to find the most hilarious of these extinct names from 1918 — and couldn’t whittle it down to fewer than 200. Here they are, in all their LOL-worthy glory, along with the number of sad children given each name in 1918:

Damned by Faint Praise

Apparently a lot of parents in 1918 wanted to set achievable expectations for their kids.

Constant: 20 boys

Bland: 14 boys

Pleasant: 12 boys

Normal: 10 boys

Carless: 7 boys

Square: 6 boys

Vanilla: 6 girls

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28 Responses to “Extinct Names That Sound Hilarious Today”

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lesliemarion Says:

March 29th, 2018 at 11:05 pm

Hey, now! I love Roswell, Pleasant, and Constant. The others, well, dear dear dear.

Roswell has that great z sound, follows along the lines of Caswell and Boswell, has the great nicknames of Wells and Welby. True, it summons up UFO’s which aren’t my cup of tea, but many people love them.

Pleasant I would use for a girl’s middle. It is such a….. well, such a pleasant word! I also love words and names with superfluous vowels, words like Taos and Peony and Pleasant.

And Constant to me is a virtue name which can stem from Contantine, Constantin, and lead to Stan, which is an all-time great nickname.

Bland, Square, and Carless, I don’t know what to say.

Kate4hisglory Says:

March 29th, 2018 at 11:56 pm

I had a customer (female) for years named Gaythel, she was very into heavy metal, perhaps because her name was Gaythel.

mill1020 Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 12:21 am

My oldest two kids had twin classmates named Buster and Buddy. Sadly, they moved away, and I never got to find out if those were legal names.

IslandMoon Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 12:49 am

Some of these aren’t that bad. I like Pansy and Forestine, and I can see the appeal of Athol. All of the place names seem usable (except maybe Burma and Armenia) considering other place names I’ve heard of on children.

KimbaRain Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 12:52 am

Funny list but I don’t see a problem with Irvine though. Sounds like a typical old fashioned name like Walter or Rupert that some people do like.

KimbaRain Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 12:54 am

Buddy is also used in Australia and UK. Not weird at all, in saying that it’s not very common though.

auroracallista Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 1:14 am

Would definitely use Roswell!

Kew Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 1:47 am

Constant, Hortense and Berthe are all lovely French names – I’d use any of them in a heartbeat. It made me laugh to see Hortense with the Germanic “valkyrie” names!

FantasyandPrayer Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 4:27 am

Wilhelmina is fine by nameberry standards but heaven forbid Wilhelmine? Actually I think it’s quite beautiful and elegant, definitely a delicate lacy kind of name. I actually think I’m falling for it!!! I guess some of these names I really don’t have any problem with. Bud/Buddy is a name I’ve heard bandied about although it’s still fairly unusual, Roswell isn’t bad, Irvine is lovely, feels nerdy (I hate to say hipster) and is also a call back to one of my sporting celeb heroes- so will probably end up on my list- and if you can have Constance for a girl why not Constant for a boy? I’d love to meet a little boy named Connie!! Sorry NB, we’re just going to have to disagree on a few of these!

ladimon Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 5:13 am

What was the point of this? A lot of these names are fine. I just don’t see how they’re “too strange to use, too funny to forget”.

Eliane Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 5:26 am

What’s wrong with showing your support for gay rights through your child‘s name?! Like for example choosing the name of a historical LGBT+ activist. Gosh, Nameberry can be so heteronormative sometimes!

wandsworth Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 6:39 am

Is this supposed to be funny?

benjamelissa Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 7:18 am

Well, I guess that proves the 100 year rule.

klutzy_girl Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 7:28 am

Mieczyslaw is Stiles’ first name on Teen Wolf so that one *might* be making a comeback.

Sunshinebee Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 8:11 am

I like Dagmar. I prefer Dagny.

jpruitt76 Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 8:24 am

I actually know a Dimple from college that is now in her early 40s.

MonikerWanderer Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 9:42 am

Elaine, there is a problem with showing your LGBT support through your child’s name. No child’s name should be a political statement. I support LGBT rights wholeheartedly, but I wouldn’t touch the name Gaylord with a ten foot pole. It just doesn’t work as a name anymore. Gay used to mean happy but now it means something sexual, which is not okay to pin on a child. You wouldn’t name a child Straightlord, if you know what I mean.

ladimon Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 10:11 am

Eliane – I agree. Maybe using Gaylord is a bit much, but there’s nothing wrong with naming your kid after a prominent LGBTQ figure. It’s not a political statement, like PP said. If it was, so would naming your kid after a straight person be. The existence of LGBTQ people isn’t inherently political. They’re just people.

wandsworth Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 2:59 pm

Several of these names have been stripped of their historical context for the sake of this article. For example, Hymen/Hyman became popular as an Anglicized version of Chaim, many of the -man surnames were popularized by politicians, gay used to mean happy, etc.

athenamay24 Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 3:39 pm

There was a Missouria in my family tree! She named her daughter Arizona.

pindorama Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 4:47 pm

Some pop culture info I remembered:

Bud Bundy from Married with Children, an American sitcon.

Pleasant was one of Mark Twain’s brothers – Pleasant Hannibal – who died very young.

Icy from the Winx Club (her sisters are Stormy and Darcy).

Inspired by Capitola, the main female character in “Dom Casmurro” (a famous Brazilian novel) is named Capitolina nn Capitu.

Canary from Hunter x Hunter manga.

Speed from Speed Racer, the protagonist.

Dude – maybe these kids were named after Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski from The Big Lebowski movie.

The A For Effort list is full of Christian names. Jesusa, Pasqualina, Jesusita and Candida aren’t hard to spot here in South America. The Abstinence Only list too (some are “classics” in the Catholic community).

I see nothing wrong with the Ruined By Pop Culture List. The only one *I* wouldn’t use is Rosebud, because the literal meaning of the word it’s too cutesy for me. Actually I see no problem with lots of names here.

bjoy Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 11:20 pm

Are we easily offended or what?!
Of course we like some of the names highlighted; tastes differ. And rather than assuming the author was slighting various subsets of society, I think it provides some insights as to how the western world has changed over the last century.
Even if you’re righteously indignant on behalf of a handful of the names included, you have to admit some of them are pretty bad. I mean, “Milady?!” Hilarious!

wandsworth Says:

March 30th, 2018 at 11:37 pm

I don’t think anyone is offended by this article. Simple stating that it doesn’t appear to be as well-developed as it could be.

dreapress Says:

March 31st, 2018 at 9:55 am

My mom had a great uncle whose name was Carlos… pronounced Carless, lol.

ladimon Says:

March 31st, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Wandsworth- exactly. I though this would be a list of funny names with some background info. This just feels like they didn’t know what to post so they quickly threw it together.

WieHeissenSie Says:

April 2nd, 2018 at 6:05 pm

I thought we were past the era of mocking names. This article isn’t even informative or funny. How about we just celebrate the names we do like?

SloaneSquare Says:

April 3rd, 2018 at 9:18 am

So many humourless easily offended people these days.

mnj87 Says:

April 3rd, 2018 at 9:32 am

Guido is a ordinary German name that we still use. We just pronounce it differently than English speakers would do I guess: it has got nothing to do with “guide” = say guy-d. Guido is more like g (as in girl) – ee (as in speed) – do (as in donate)= g – ee – do.

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