When a name like Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii gets banned, it makes big news. But there are lots of other names that, now and since the beginning of recorded name time, have quietly been relegated to the forbidden list. No judge may have pounded a gavel, no name-sensitive Napoleon decreed a law against outlandish names as he did in France. But these names have nevertheless been shunned by parents in the Western World – and sometimes even by those who’ve been unlucky enough to be born with them.
As the murderous biblical brother, Cain was for centuries a name that was off the table, while Abel was quietly (too quietly, in our opinion) still used. While naming your son Cain might put negative ideas in his head – watch the baby! – you might consider cognates Kane or Kean, Irish surnames that mean “ancient.”