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Study Ranks Most Controversial Names

December 2, 2019 Sophie Kihm
Divisive Baby Names

Chloe and Jaxon top the list of names that inspire the most extreme reactions, according to a study by UK website ChannelMum.com.

They’re being called “Marmite Names,” with marmite referring to the British spread that people either love or loathe.

Chloe leads the list on the girls’ side, with parents arguing over whether it is “sophisticated” or “downmarket.” Jaxon and spelling variation Jaxxon were most controversial for boys. Parents in favor claim the name is “sharp and contemporary,” while critics assert it’s “not spelled properly.”

The UK’s Most Divisive Names

These are the Top 10 Marmite Names, according to the study:

Girls

  • Chloe
  • Lola
  • Stella
  • Winter
  • Margot
  • Agnes
  • Megan/Meghan
  • Scarlett
  • Emmie
  • Olive

Boys

  • Jaxon/Jaxxon
  • Felix
  • Harrison
  • Oscar
  • Alfie
  • Henry
  • Leonard
  • Fox
  • Eden
  • McKenzie

Notable choices include Meghan, the name of the Duchess of Sussex, as well as Harrison, the middle name she and Prince Harry (whose given name, Henry, also makes the list) gave to their son Archie.

Chloe, Stella, Scarlett, Jaxon, and Henry all rank among the US Top 100 Names, while Chloe, Lola, Margot, Scarlett, Jaxon, Felix, Harrison, Oscar, Alfie, and Henry are among the Top 100 Names in England.

Some see names like Lola and Scarlett as being lush and gorgeous, while others deem them too sexy for everyday use. Nickname names such as Emmie and Alfie might be seen as fun or slight, while Leonard and Agnes might be viewed as cool hipster choices or ugly and old-fashioned.

Nameberry’s Most Controversial Names

We polled our readers and came up with our own list of divisive baby names.

The top choices include “uber-cute names” such as Minnie, Pixie, Honey, and Dolly, which @leafsgirl44 calls “highly polarizing”. Supporters claim these names combine vintage charm with modern informality, which naysayers feel these names don’t give a modern girl enough to live up to.

On the boys’ side, @namefan” identifies Cohen as a very divisive name, noting, “Some see it as just another surname-name, while some don’t like it because of what it means in Jewish culture.”

Some vintage or traditional names inspire extreme reactions.

“Is anyone lukewarm on Ruth? I feel like it’s either your dream or you can’t stand it,” says @Kaylah, while @bonhomieconsomie claims, “I have found Maude to be the most polarizing. No one seems neutral on this name!”

Here, the full roster of controversial names nominated by Nameberry visitors:

  • Annabelle
  • Bellamy
  • Bram
  • Casper
  • Cohen
  • Delilah
  • Dolly
  • Edna
  • Etta
  • Grayson
  • Harriet
  • Honey
  • Hunter
  • India
  • Jemima
  • Juniper
  • Lilac
  • Lilith
  • Liv
  • Mackenzie
  • Margot
  • Maude
  • Maverick
  • Milo
  • Minnie
  • Nevaeh
  • Noa
  • Ophelia
  • Pixie
  • Rex
  • Rosemary
  • Rowan
  • Rupert
  • Ruth
  • Salem
  • Scarlett
  • Thatcher
  • Violet
  • Wisteria

What do you think are the most divisive names? Tell us the names you hear the most split opinions on!

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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