Is Lucifer Off-Limits?

Are there any names that you just plain shouldn't use?

a Name Sage post by: Abby View all Name Sage posts

The Name Sage finally finds a name she just can’t support. Happily, the mom’s shortlist is packed with other possibilities.

Emma writes:

I am expecting a baby this December, gender unknown, who will join sister Emory.

Since childhood, I have been interested in mythologies and folklore, and I prefer names with a similar background.

My current favorites are Lilith, Cassiel, Castiel, Eilo/Ailo, Asura, Lucifer, and Leviathan/Leviadan, along with Azrael, Seraphiel, Zophiel, Raziel, and Sariel.

I will use nicknames – e.g. Cassiel/Castiel would be Cas, Zophiel would be Zophie or Zoe, etc.

Many of them sound alluring and have such beautiful meanings – like Lucifer means bringer of light.

While I don’t have any problem with them, I worry others will. After all, who names their child after Satan?

What do you think? Is it too much to use these names?

The Name Sage replies:

I almost never say you should not use a name, but I’m going to say it this time: you should not name your child Lucifer.

The name has tremendous appeal – great sound, strong meaning, potential nickname Luc/Luke. Perhaps your personal beliefs don’t conflict in any way with the choice, or maybe you can argue that the name is misunderstood.

But the problem remains, and you’re wise to be aware of it: the reaction of others.

Normally, I think this can – and should – be overlooked. Not everyone will agree that it’s time to bring back Bernadette. Some will find names like Huxley or Lyra too different. 99 times out of 100, I absolutely believe that you should use the name that you love.

But Lucifer is one of the few exceptions. The name is so controversial that it will feel burdensome. It’s one thing to have to spell or explain an unusual name. It’s another to watch others’ jaws drop when you introduce yourself.

The good news is that there are other names on your list that honor your interests and seem far less controversial. So many great names are waiting to be discovered from history, literature, and myth.

Castiel strikes me as very wearable, thanks to its similarity to popular names like Gabriel, as well as long-running television series Supernatural. It could shorten to Cas or even Cash. The name was given to nearly 300 boys last year. That’s not common, but it’s familiar enough that your son won’t be the only one. Cassiel also seems like it would work well for a boy born today.

Ailo and Eilo are both pretty rare. It took some digging to find their mythological roots, but I think they’re obscure enough that either spelling would be wearable for a son or a daughter in 2016.

Zophiel – Like Ailo, Zophiel works because it is so unusual. But it’s also the kind of name that a parent might invent in 2016, a ZoeGabrielle smoosh. That makes me think that Zophiel – or Zophielle? – makes a better choice for a daughter, especially with nickname options like Zoe and Zophie.

Lilith – Parents have traditionally avoided Lucifer, but that’s not true of Lilith. Especially since the 1990s-era Lilith Fair changed our perceptions of the name, it has steadily become more common. Over 500 girls were named Lilith in 2015. That’s not exactly Isabella, but it can no longer be called surprising. One hesitation: nickname Lily is among the most popular names throughout the English-speaking world. I wonder if that makes this name less appealing to you?

You didn’t ask for suggestions, but there’s a name that doesn’t rank in the current US Top 1000, and might make a good substitute for Lucifer: Lucius, also derived from the Latin lux – light. Another ancient option is Aurelius, Aurelian, or Aurelia, all of which mean golden.

Choosing names that reflect your interests is a good thing. The challenge is to find one that honors your passion while leaving space for your child to grow into the name, too.

Readers, what names would you suggest to Emma? Are there others on her list that you find appealing? And do you agree that Lucifer is problematic, or am I wrong on this one?

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About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.
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35 Responses to “Is Lucifer Off-Limits?”

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lesliemarion Says:

September 6th, 2016 at 11:06 pm

Lucifer is absolutely unusable.

Azreal is nice, cool z sound.

These names are not my style, but any other than Lucifer seem fine.

mill1020 Says:

September 6th, 2016 at 11:11 pm

Under no circumstances should anyone name a child Lucifer.

I agree w/ Abby that Lucius would be a great alternative.

JulesBerry Says:

September 6th, 2016 at 11:19 pm

I agree 100%. Lucifer is beyond unusable. Lucius is a great alternative! I’m not a fan of it because it reminds me of Lucifer, so if that’s a name you like, I think Lucius is a great choice for you!

OpalJade Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 2:23 am

I think Castiel is such a handsome name!! Raziel also makes a great choice for a boy in my opinion with nickname Ray being strong and familiar.

All of the angelic endings appeal to me too, the names sound familiar but different at the same time!

Such a shame about Lucifer, a strong name and one i personally have no problem with at all … but i know some people out there would have very strong feelings about it which would definately impact on the childs life.

stephaniemay Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 4:05 am

I’m Australian and you cannot register the name Lucifer for a child here, it’s essentially banned.

Personally I don’t have any real problem with the name and I agree is has a great sound and a sturdy meaning, but if entire countries ban the name from use it’s just going to be too problematic.

Plus there’s a big difference between people thinking a name is ugly/stuffy/inappropriate for a child and finding the name personally offensive. You don’t want to stick your poor little kid with a name that a majority of society will find morally reprehensible, you’re putting him on the back foot before he’s even begun.

AldabellaxWulfe Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 6:09 am

Unpopular opinion here but, I don’t think Lucifer should be off-limits.

1. Your average non-religious individual may frown when encountering Lucifer. But, upon seeing your adorable little boy and meeting you properly – and finding out that you aren’t a bunch of devil-worshippers, they aren’t going to kick up a fuss about your child’s name.

2. We don’t live in a time where Christianity (or any variation) is a predominent force anymore. So it’s not like you’ll be living in a town whose entire population thinks you’re evil.

3. When it comes to Christians, Catholics (or any variation), I’d like to say that a lot of them are quite chill. And while they might think: “Why would you name your child that?” they aren’t going to come after you with pitchforks to exorcise your baby and publically execute you for witchcraft.

4. If you’re not religious, why on Earth would you, or anyone care about religious associations? If people are now using Lilith, Delilah and Jezebel for their babies, which all have nasty religious connections, then why not Lucifer?

5. Lucifer actually isn’t the devil. With a little research, you’ll find that Lucifer and Satan are actually two different entities that we have confused for the same due to a translation error in the King James version of the Bible. As a result, Lucifer was actually the name of one or two holy men several centuries ago. Lucifer Calaritanus was a bishop famous for his opposition towards arianism, who is now a saint in Sardinia. Isn’t that a nice connotation?

6. Even if Lucifer and Satan were the same, the fact of the matter is that we’ve blown Satan’s character completely out of proportion. In the book of Job Satan is God’s loyal follower – created by him to test the faith of men, to see if they were worthy of god and of heaven. Which isn’t a bad thing at all and nothing like how more modern times have portrayed him for the sake of dramatics.

7. Little kids probably won’t know who Lucifer supposedly is, or won’t understand it to the full extent. Older children and teenagers will probably think it’s cool, to be honest – I know I would have. The only real issue I can see with this name is that the child in question probably won’t be getting hired by any major religious companies, which is hardly life-limiting.

8. For anyone who isn’t religious, the bible and all it entails is fantasy. Lucifer is simply a character in a storybook to most of us, and his character is actually a very moral one. Lucifer should be regarded as the embodiment of reason, intelligence and critical thinking. He symbolises free will and independent thought, as he stands against all dogmas. He stands for the exploration of new ideas and new perspectives in the pursuit of truth. Or at least, that’s how I see it. And that’s how a growing number of individuals see it to, including Luciferianism

Again, it’s an unpopular opinion. But this is honestly how I feel about the subject croming from a Catholic family myself. People’s fear of using this name comes less from its demonic association and more from the knowledge that we don’t know how others would react to it. And due to our more tolerant, enlightened and progressive times, I don’t think the reaction is going to be all that bad. Yes, there will be raised eyebrows and frowns and braver individuals will approach and demand to know why Lucifer was chosen. But I genuinely believe that that’s as far as it would go. You as a parent would have to do a lot of defending and make sure you raised a super confident kid. With that in mind, I think Lucifer is doable.

arunciblespoon Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 6:23 am

Personally I always thought Lucifer was a great name. I used to be of the opinion that using it would be too controversial and perhaps cruel, but I agree with AldabellaxWulfe, the world is changing and depending on where you live (barring say the bible belt and countries like New Zealand and Australia where it’s banned) I don’t think Lucifer would be too much of a problem. As long as you’re prepared to be answering questions about why you chose it then i’m not so sure it’s really such a bad name any more. After all Delilah and Jezebel were once considered pretty unusable but became more acceptable because brave pioneers used them. Don’t forget, your kid can always be introduced as Luc in school and to strangers. If Lucifer is ever to make a comeback then it needs to be used.

MGK Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 6:43 am

A name that’s actually BANNED? Seems a little odd to me and I can see where it would be tempting to defy such an edict.
That being said, I don’t find myself in the pro-Lucifer camp.
I’m trying to think of another circumstance where something feels so intimately connected to the wishes of one person, but is actually all about someone else – and the name you choose for your baby falls into that category.
Yes- you could have a child who could ROCK a name like Lucifer and not feel the slightest burden. And that’s cool.
But, the names we choose for our children should feel like a gift bestowed with love – not a burden to be borne.

Toronto87 Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 7:18 am

I’d have to shake my head at anyone who would even consider naming their child Lucifer. Whether or not it is a bad name to you or not, it is a burdensome name to impose on a child. Imagine getting a resume with that name on it. It would be putting your interests and likes ahead of the well being of your child. And I guarantee, once that child got older, they would probably change it.

roseofjune Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 8:51 am

Lucifer is almost cringy in its edginess.
Lucifer is not equatable to the likes of Lilith or Delilah.
Lucifer is the name of the literal devil, the being that supposedly creates all harm and terror and hurt in the world.
It doesn’t have an ounce of coolness to me. Why would it be cool to name your kid after a being that is the source of all pain and suffering?
This isn’t about just respecting Christianity. It’s about respecting others’ religions and cultures. You wouldn’t name your child after a demon in some other religion, so why is Christianity exempt from that?

teacupsandtiaras Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 10:18 am

Lucifer just seems like too much for any person to carry throughout their lives. I’d recommend Lucian or Lucien instead, both of which are much more commonly used and do not have such negative connotations.

cgwaltney Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 11:08 am

Is this supposed to be a rhetorical question? It’s the equivalent of asking if it’s ok to name your child Hitler. I mean come on!

Lisaahs Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 1:37 pm

I’ll keep it simple: do not name your child Lucifer.

ARead Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 1:55 pm

I agree with the majority here. On nameberry there is a lot of talk about respecting the culture, history, gender usage, spelling, etc. of a name when borrowing from another culture. It sounds like the parent writing in does not a have a faith that believes Lucifer is the devil and therefore the name is not problematic for her, personally. Fine. But anyone coming from a faith background that has anything to do with Christianity, Islam, or Judiasm is probably going to have an extremely negative gut reaction to this name–they will equate it with Satan. If the name is not offensive to you, I get that. But respect the culture/religion you are borrowing the name from. Any other name on that list is great, but please don’t give your kid a name that millions of people in your own country equate with fear, death, deception, suffering, pain, murder, etc.

Jblack11 Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 3:23 pm

Some suggestions from mythology/folklore:
Apollo – Greek
Aurora – Roman
Bran – Celtic
Brisa – Greek
Cadmus – Greek/Roman
Clio – Greek
Danae – Greek
Loki – Norse
Lugh – Celtic
Odin – Norse
Thalia – Greek

indiefendi2 Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 7:04 pm

If you name your child Lucifer, Child Protective Services will come after you. Same with Hitler.

NaomiAurora Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 8:25 pm

To be totally honest, my jaw dropped when I read this. The name Lucifer should never be used, in my opinion. It’s 100% unusable.
I would be absolutely horrified to hear of a child with this name, simply because Lucifer is the devil himself. The name is associated with death, torture, murder, pain, and suffering. I can’t even begin to imagine how a child named Lucifer would go through everyday life. I don’t think he would be bullied, but he would definitely be prejudged based on his name. Try something with less negative influence, like Apollo, Aurora, or Clio (all suggestions from previous posters). I agree with everyone else; it’s the same as naming your child Hitler. I strongly encourage you to reconsider.

Bobcat108 Says:

September 7th, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Leaving aside the whole Lucifer question, the names on the list don’t seem to go well w/Emory, in my opinion. Maybe that’s not a big deal to the original poster, but at least for me there’s an absolutely huge difference in the style of Emory & the style of the other names. I’m generally not one to say children must have names from exactly the same style, but this is an exception. Again, this is just my opinion, & perhaps the original poster doesn’t mind…

iarlondwen Says:

September 8th, 2016 at 2:36 am

While I agree with Abby that it would be a huge burden to carry. I also agree that the historical context of Lucifer as the devil is a medieval and King James Bible issue and has nothing to do with his old testament persona. I truly believe that to change perception you have to take risk. But you have to make the decision as to whether that risk is worth it for you and your child…. And to those claiming that because the parent in question does not have any problems with Lucifer as a name and is therefore is borrowing from another religion and not respecting it, should probably remember that Luciferianism and Satanism are legally recognized religions in the USA, so if the parent happened to be a Luciferian then they would infact not be borrowing from another religion but honoring and following their own. Also a bit of research for you from Jewish Answers.org: (http://www.jewishanswers.org/ask-the-rabbi-2566/the-jewish-view-of-satan/?p=2566). There is perhaps a bit too much judgement going on here, and no one likes to have their favorite names shat upon by others, not for Bernadette and not for Lucifer.

BradyLady Says:

September 8th, 2016 at 3:40 am

The rightness or wrongness of the name is one thing, but I’d hate to be that child later on, introducing himself to others, and always setting himself up for *that* reaction.

Suzannah Says:

September 8th, 2016 at 10:59 am

There are literally thousands of names you can name your baby. I can’t imagine that you can’t find something other than Lucifer. Even if you are not religious, naming your child after so reprehensible a figure seems downright perverse.

Cpwallawalla Says:

September 8th, 2016 at 3:24 pm

Or Lucien/Lucian for a boy, Louisianne or Louisa for a girl… They sound similar enough to Lucifer. If you like he name that much, maybe just have it as a pet name. Give your child something more portable on paper and social settings.

Cpwallawalla Says:

September 8th, 2016 at 3:25 pm

Sorry, to be clear I mean pet name/nickname not name for your pet.

MrsScout Says:

September 8th, 2016 at 8:34 pm

I’m a teacher, and I still remember a little boy from 30 years ago who had an unpronounceable ancient Mayan name. His family was not of that culture- they were old hippies who thought it was a cool name. Whenever anyone asked his name, the child mumbled an answer, because he knew that no one would understand what he said and recognize it as a name. I can imagine a little Lucifer being reluctant to share his name, which really is the first step in making a friend or getting a job, or making any new social contact. Even if he is the most confident boy imaginable, don’t you think he would get bone tired of always getting some kind of response to his name? Most people can just say their name and get on with the business at hand. He will more times than not get a reaction and have to explain his name. I think is is placing an undue, lifelong burden on your baby, and why would anyone want to do anything like that?

Eizariya Says:

September 9th, 2016 at 8:55 pm

It reminds me of a boy I went to elementary school with who always went by his initials, AJ. Turned out the “A” was for Adolf, after his grandfather. Seeing how much he hated having that name, which at least was a normal name before the 1930s, I can’t imagine what life would be like for someone named Lucifer. I know those aren’t perfect comparisons, but it seems at best short-sighted and at worst cruel to give a child a name like that. Lucien is a great alternative.

NatanyaLavigne Says:

September 9th, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Even if I were an atheist or from a religion or country that does not know who lucifer is, I would never give that name to my child.
How will your son feel to know that you subjected him to verbal abuse that will start in early childhood and continue for his entire life?
What will that do to his self-esteem to know that you gave him a name that the majority of the Western world associates with the worst living thing that has ever existed?
Not even an Atheist should do that.
It doesn’t matter what the name means or how it sounds. The child is a real human who will have to write that name on job applications, college applications, maybe dating websites, maybe a passport and countless other places. Are you prepared to explain to him that you knew how difficult the name would make his life but that you choose it anyway because you like the way it sounds?????

LavenderLullabies Says:

September 9th, 2016 at 11:53 pm

As a former Jehovah’s Witness (born and raised) I still love this name and would totally use it if I weren’t stuck in a small town full of bible thumpers that very well could screw my life up if I dared to. (There’s been more than a few incidents where LGBT members in our town had their cars vandalized and homes broken into “in the name of God.” It’s an issue.)
I agree with arunciblespoon and AldabellaxWulfe. Besides, Luciferianism is a thing. It’s a legally recognized religion in the USA. So you could just say you’re honoring your religion, because it’s a real thing.

PostNamer Says:

September 10th, 2016 at 3:08 pm

You can use Lucifer Jinn for a girl or Lucifer Djinn for a boy to let the world know the poke in the eye isn’t specifically a Christian thing.

nerdshame Says:

September 13th, 2016 at 1:13 am

I have to agree that unless you want to spend your life explaining your child’s name and potentially burden your child with a name they have to explain for the rest of theirs also, it’s not a great choice. That being said, in reference to a previous comment, I do not agree that it’s disrespectful to Christianity to name your child Lucifer. If you are not Christian, especially, then you should not be bound by limitations put upon you by a faith you don’t even subscribe to. In heavily Christian areas, however, your child may have some explaining to do in their adult years and that’s the real pickle here. You cannot predict your child’s future. You do not know who they will become or where they’ll go in life.

There are many names associated with myth, legend, and world religions that have some darker connotations but are still used today. Lilith, is one. So is Persephone which is rising like a rocket in popularity despite being associated with the kidnapped goddess of the underworld. Pandora who, if you believe the myth, unleased all evil upon the world. Kali is the Hindu goddess of destruction. Alastor’s a demon. Raven’s are a symbol of death. The list goes on and on.

Rhii Says:

September 13th, 2016 at 3:34 pm

Admittedly, I like Lucifer.

I do think it could be burdensome for the kid though. Hard to balance.

tfzolghadr Says:

September 21st, 2016 at 9:54 am

I think it would be entirely selfish to name your child Lucifer, Adolf, or Hitler. Lucifer above Adolf or Hitler. You are naming another human, who will have to deal with the real world implications of having such a name. You like the name in your mind, but the child will have to deal with it day in and day out. DH is a Muslim, and said “Why would anyone even dream of using that name?” You may argue that there are religions that recognize Lucifer as a good being, that the name is misunderstood, that the US isn’t very Christian anymore, that you don’t need to respect religions you don’t subscribe to, etc. But the fact of the matter that Lucifer is almost (not completely) universally seen in movies, books, literature, etc. as a negative being. The fact that you even need to ask this question means that you already know this… If I met a Lucifer, I would assume his parents were devil-worshippers in some strange cult. If I got a resume for a Lucifer, I would have many assumptions about him. Should I? No, but I would. And I think that, quite honestly, many other people would, too. Moreover, would it be fair to saddle this on Lucifer, but not on Emory?

charlesokuku Says:

December 11th, 2016 at 6:51 am

All the names can just be used. Otherwise, you can take a look at these names http://www.suggestbabynames.com/meaning_of_african_girlname_lindiwe.html

KaiLun Says:

October 6th, 2017 at 2:54 am

I agree with AldabellaxWulfe. Lucifer should not be off limits. Nerdshame listed other Gods and Goddesses with dark connotations but are becoming popular. It’s only “off-limits” right now because people are choosing to make it off-limits by not naming their kid Lucifer to appease sensitive people. Off-limits is what you make it.

If you’re concerned about his future in finding a job or want to give your kid the option to use the name, then perhaps you can name him Luke, Lucien, or Lucius on paper but verbally call him Lucifer. Or, give it to him as a middle name.

geekwithamouth Says:

October 23rd, 2017 at 8:23 am

I think Lucifer is a perfectly acceptable name, some people aren’t going to like it or agree with the name choice but that’s how it is for all names.

IndigoEye Says:

May 26th, 2018 at 4:39 am

I agree with AldabellaxWulfe, KaiLune, and geekwithamouth, and I am in a way a christian (Gnostic Sect), Lucifer isnt satan hes not a demon, hes an angel, a Grigori (Watcher) no less, to us hes similar to Prometheus, giving us a gift like any watcher but the most important gift of all of them which we failed to use properly and that is Enlightenment and Knowledge. He is the Archangel that represents Venus and as such is an Angel of Free Will, Independence, Enlightenment, Love, Creativity, Song, and Art. Everything that represents the best of humanity. Now a name that is offlimits is Satan’s true name, Iblis. Iblis means sorrow or grief and is linked with the name Talbis meaning confusion or deception. Lucifer is perfectly fine, heck, I’m considering on naming my future child Lucifer, its a very powerful name that teaches us to be independent and to be ourselves. Now if you still have some concerns but dont want to give up on the name then use it as a middle name.

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