Is there only one Romeo?
The same phenomenon applies to some names from pop culture, though these can change over time. Juliet has definitely transcended its Shakespearean associations, though is Romeo still rooted to the tragic stage? What about Clementine, which for decades would inspire a chorus of “Oh My Darlin'” but now may have escaped that fate?
Our question of the week is:
Which names are still tied to one person, character, association?
And which have broken free and are now fair game for babies?
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on August 21st, 2013 at 7:01 am
Madonna is definitely my favorite of the one person names. I wish it were usable.
on August 21st, 2013 at 7:04 am
Perfect example, Graciebeth — I think we joked in one edition that it’s actually a TWO person name.
on August 21st, 2013 at 7:21 am
At one point, I would have said Atticus was solely attached to the character in “To Kill A Mockingbird” but now it is very usable (weven without the intention of naming a child for the literary character). Likewise, I no longer immediately think of “Gone with The Wind” when I hear of a baby named Scarlett.
In my opinion, Romeo is still unusable as is Napolean (unless you are naming a dog). On the girls side, Oprah, Twiggy, and Cher are all so associated with person that I don’t think they are usable.
on August 21st, 2013 at 7:25 am
Dare I say it, but surely Adolf fits this category, for all the wrong reasons of course?
Delilah used to be one (because of the Tom Jones’ song) but it appears to have broken free now.
on August 21st, 2013 at 7:27 am
To follow up from the mention of Napoleon, Horatio for me is forever tied to Horatio Nelson, the man who defeated Napoleon.
on August 21st, 2013 at 8:08 am
Ten years ago, I would have said there was only one Romeo, but I’ve met several French Canadians named Roméo, so it’s no longer a one-person name for me. I’d be a bit surprised by an English Romeo though.
Names that are one-person-only for me: Adolf, Madonna, Oprah, Beyonce.
MaggieMary, actually I always think of Hamlet rather than Lord Nelson when I hear Horatio!
on August 21st, 2013 at 8:15 am
With Adolf I think it depends on the country. The difference to me is that Madonna for example isn’t a common name. I think these ties happen when a very famous person has an uncommon name. Adolf was very common in Austria and Germany when Hitler was born. Actually my it was even my great-grandfather’s name. So there have been many others. That being said I still wouldn’t use it because it does have a strong tie to Hitler.
Rihanna (though this one might change)
on August 21st, 2013 at 8:17 am
Going with the “Gone with the Wind” mention, I’ll say that Rhett is forever Rhett Butler to me, so I can’t see it on a kid. I agree that that has changed for other literary names like Scarlett and Atticus. Also with TKAM, Scout seems to be breaking free as a given name via celebrities, but it really sounds better as a nickname.
I disagree with maggiemary on Horatio: I first heard it in history class when they talked about Revolutionary War office Horatio Gates and it’s never been tied to one person for me, so I think it’s pretty usable.
Ulysses is usable, but Odysseus not so much. Other mythology names that are usable: Hector, Helen, Cassandra, Calliope, Penelope, Artemis, Athena, Apollo, and Hermes.
on August 21st, 2013 at 9:23 am
Minnie. Though this name used to be all the rage in the last 1800s, it has since fallen by the wayside as a usable full name, mostly due to Mickey’s red-clad counterpart Minnie Mouse, whose full moniker was Minerva Mouse.
I can still see it used as a nickname today… but Minnie just can’t break free of the animated reference, unlike her co-stars Daisy, Donald and Annabelle and Clara. Minerva is still usable though.
I also think pop culture figures like Cher, Shakira, Miss Latifah and Beyonce have cemented a claim on those names. Though, surprisingly, Prince seems to still be a popular choice for sons in the Philippines.
on August 21st, 2013 at 9:24 am
The name that first came to my mind as being a one-person name is Elvis.
on August 21st, 2013 at 9:25 am
I know a lot of people like and use this name, but after growing up with That’s So Raven, I can only associate it with Raven-Symone. I think Reba is definitely another one-person name, and I certainly couldn’t imagine it on a little girl. I know I’ll think of more later…..
on August 21st, 2013 at 10:14 am
Definitely, Elvis. It’s only usable for dogs and soap operas.
on August 21st, 2013 at 10:34 am
I still find Clementine to be unusable, but I’m an elementary school music teacher, so I hear that song more than most people. I’m curious whether people think Barack is a one person name- I tend to think it is.
on August 21st, 2013 at 12:26 pm
@ejs82, I agree with you on Barack. I think it will be awhile before anyone associates it to anyone besides the first black president. Another name that springs to mind is Miley. I know people are naming their little girls this, but growing up with Hannah Montana, I can only see it on her.
on August 21st, 2013 at 1:39 pm
I totally agree with Madonna and Adolf.
I’m going to disagree with Horatio (and the Napoleon connotation) as when I (or anyone in my family) hears Horatio, we think of that lovely red-head from “CSI: Miami” removing his sunglasses with his cheesy one-liner and the show cutting to credits.
Does that mean other people can’t use the name? no… but it is old fashioned and a hilarious name-sake to have.
on August 21st, 2013 at 3:02 pm
When I hear Horatio, I think of Shakespeare, so there are at least two associations with that name.
I definitely think Adolf is one of them… it will be at least a hundred years before that one is usable again.
Barack, Elvis, Cher, Madonna, yes. I also think Adele is becoming one. I liked that name for a long time, and now I’m afraid to use it because I don’t want people to think I’m naming anyone after her… even though I love her.
on August 21st, 2013 at 3:21 pm
Shame about Miley its such a cute name but yeah people would think it would be after Hannah Montana/Cyrus.
on August 21st, 2013 at 3:37 pm
While contemplating the “Where Have all the F Names Gone?” blog, two names occurred to me.
Farrah still belongs to Ms. Fawcett.
And I love “Forrest” for a boy, but I’m afraid all he’d hear would be “Run, Forrest, run!” and references to boxes of chocolates.
on August 21st, 2013 at 3:40 pm
I adore Darwin, but I worry that it is, as you say, a one-person name.
on August 21st, 2013 at 3:44 pm
maggiemary – I would argue that the Biblical figure tarnishes Delilah more than a song. Likewise, Cain, Jezebel and Judas are singular names due to their Biblical references.
on August 21st, 2013 at 3:58 pm
I think it’s safe to say Sherlock is a one-man only kind of name.
I actually like the name Romeo, although it would be pronounced differently in Italian then how we are used to saying it. ROE-me-oh versus Roe-MAY-oh. For that reason I wouldn’t use it; I prefer the sound of the ROE-me-oh pronunciation that we are used to but it would bother me that in it’s origin language, that is incorrect.
on August 21st, 2013 at 4:22 pm
Today I was told that Jude is “not usable yet”, because it’s only modern tie is to Jude Law. Please someone tell me it ain’t so?
on August 21st, 2013 at 4:25 pm
It’s so funny to read all these “there’s only one” comments and think of all the people I know who have those “only one” names, lol. We have a local newscaster whose first name is Darwin, for example; I also teach many Forrests, went to school with *two* girls named Farrar (pronounced “Farrah”), and so on.
For me, the “there’s only one” distinctive names would be Arsenio (Hall) and D’Brickashaw (Ferguson). Although that said, I married into a Cuban family and Arsenio is not an unheard-of name there. Oh well… guess there really is nothing new under the sun!
on August 21st, 2013 at 5:08 pm
Oprah is the only celebrity name I can think of that is truly a one person name in my mind, or if someone else was called Oprah I would assume they were named after Oprah Winfrey. This is because the bible namesake was actually Orpah but the letters got transposed when Ms. Winfrey was named, so basically Oprah was new to her due to the mistake. Madonna, for example, makes me think of the Virgin Mary and the singer. Romeo is from Shakespeare and the singer li’l Romeo.
on August 21st, 2013 at 6:06 pm
My cousin’s husband is Mexican, his name is Ad*olfo, and its perfectly acceptable there. Her son is A*lexander A*dolfo (*for privacy). He’s 11 and lives in the states. His grandfather is also A*dolfo. I don’t understand Messiah not being “allowed” but Prince is…was that a usa case? My mom had a female leasee named Crist prn christ.
on August 21st, 2013 at 6:19 pm
Jesus – that Name is not usable where I live.
Othello – would surely raise some eyebrows.
Kain – I think it is still forbidden by law to use that Name.
Judas – would also be a bad choice.
Romeo – there are still the occasional “Romeo, oh, Romeo.” calls
Noah – was a no no! Now it’s a regular Name.
on August 21st, 2013 at 6:27 pm
Cher’s a two person name to me but I think of Cher Lloyd being born in the late 90’s
Romeo seems two person as well due to Romeo Beckham
on August 21st, 2013 at 6:28 pm
And also my sister is named Adele and I know another so its not one person to me. Both of the Adele’s I know were born in 2001
on August 21st, 2013 at 7:24 pm
My favorite that I worry about on this list is Jewel. I love the name but just don’t care for the singer. What do others think?
I also think there’s a big difference between naming after a monster like Adolf Hitler, and a positive person like Oprah, Adele or Barack Obama. I admire all three and might chose the honor one of them for my child.
on August 21st, 2013 at 7:27 pm
I admit while I don’t like the singer Jewel, she is not a bad person, just not my favorite.
on August 21st, 2013 at 10:30 pm
Kanye. I feel as thou Kanye West has ruined that name.
on August 22nd, 2013 at 2:14 am
Ebenezer and Kermit are two that I wish didn’t fit this category, but I think are still both difficult to use.
on August 23rd, 2013 at 6:29 am
Elmo, Bart, Homer…
on August 23rd, 2013 at 6:37 am
Merlin, even though I think it’s great, will always be a wizard. There’s Elmo as well. He will always be a fuzzy red monster.
on August 23rd, 2013 at 12:44 pm
on August 23rd, 2013 at 8:28 pm
@Amydomsmom I know two toddlers named Jude, both of the moms liking it because of Hey, Jude rather than Jude Law. It seems really popular to me, so I wouldn’t choose it, but it’s definitely usable.
on November 8th, 2013 at 3:14 pm
I still think all those names are tied to 1 person and are all unusable. Nice but unusable.
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