What Not to Name the Baby

By Pamela Redmond Satran

If you look at the very bottom of the Social Security name records, you’ll find plenty of ill-advised baby names that people actually choose, and really really shouldn’t have.

The baby names here were gathered from names given to five children in 2012.  To protect privacy, the government only records names used for five or more babies each year, so chances are there are even worse choices out there that didn’t make the official statistics.

Here, what not to name your baby, and why:

girls

Ahmiracle and Dmiracle – There were nearly 800 girls named just plain Miracle, and then you’ve got your Jamiracles and your Lamiracles.  But we draw the line.

Assia – You just can’t give an American baby a name that contains the word “ass.”

Beautyful and Pretty – She better be.

Disney – Product placement?

ErieLake, yes.  Ontario or Michigan, maybe.  But Erie is just eerie.

Goodness – Most teenagers would take this as a dare.

Ikea – A Big Box name.

Money and PryceUh…no.

RichardEvery year there are a handful of girls named Richard….and George and David, and boys named Charlotte and Sophia.  Clerical mistakes?  Sometimes, probably.  And then other times, they’re just mistakes.

Rosary – Saints’ names and other religious names can work, but this takes baby-name-as-devotion too far.

Shady –Weather names – Sunny, Snow – can work, but then there’s the other meaning of Shady.

Stonie – Will create a rocky path for your child.

VegasWhat happens in Vegas

Younique – Unfortunately not.  And there were five girls named Yunique too.

boys

Abass – See Assia.

Carrion – Baby name roadkill.

Dolton – If Colton is a popular baby name, and Bolton and Knowlton can work as first names, then Dolton….nah.

Emperor – Why not Tyranius?

HamletShakespearean names as far out as Romeo can work, but  Hamlet is also saddled with that “Ham” syllable.

Handsome – See Beautyful and Pretty.

Harshit – Harshit and Harshita are Sanskrit names with a lovely meaning: full of happiness.  But they don’t translate well into English.

Kartier – Klassy.

Maximum – Max or Maxim would have made the point.

Messer – Takes the Badass Baby Name idea, ala Ranger and Wilder, too far.

Patch – His big brother’s name is AOL

Princeten or Prinston – Maybe he’ll get into Yale.

Ralphy – Middle name: Boy.

RamboScary, yet not as scary as the six boys named (yes, really) Rage.

Vader – Ready for a lifetime of Star Wars jokes?

For thousands of really unusual names you can give your baby, get our new e-book, The Nameberry Guide to Off-the-Grid Baby Names.

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51 Responses to “What Not to Name the Baby”

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clairels Says:

May 30th, 2013 at 11:09 pm

There’s little I look forward to more each year than combing the bottom of the SSA list for gems like these, if only for a laugh and/or a head shake. Dolton is just cringe-worthy, sort of like following a sound trend to its most unfortunate conclusion. Anything with a brand name (Disney, Ikea, the now-familiar Espn) is bad, but I actually do like Vegas.

Two additions, also used for at least 5 babies this year: Crash for a boy and Loveya (read “Love Ya”) for a girl.

sarahmezz Says:

May 30th, 2013 at 11:38 pm

I just posted a similar list of Australia’s oddest baby names. In Australia, they’re names given to at least two children. I’ve always thought, regarding names related to appearance (Beautyful and Pretty, but also less “out there” choices such as Honey), “Gee, she better be good looking!” I know everyone thinks their baby is gorgeous, but, let’s face it, not everybody turns out to be a supermodel. Most names on this list are pretty bad, but those I’d consider passable include: Erie, Pryce, Rosary and Hamlet. And I’m pretty sure my husband would think Rambo is awesome (me, not so much).

calypsotheoneandonly Says:

May 30th, 2013 at 11:49 pm

I have to admit I can sort of see the appeal of Erie and Rosary. Yes, the meanings pretty much ruin it, but they SOUND nice. Right?
In India, it’s usually spelled Harshith (not that you won’t come across Harshits as well), but Harshitha and Harshita are both accepted spellings. They really are nice names, though.

minisia Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 1:06 am

A good friend of mine has an uncle named Hamlet. I think it’s kind of cool.

EmilyVA Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 1:07 am

I forgot how Catholic I was until I saw Rosary. That’s offensive!
I kind of like Hamlet.

alzora Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 1:09 am

Lol…Carrion…because when I look at my child every day and lovingly call his name, I want to elicit imagery of slain possums. I actually don’t think Hamlet is that bad. I mean it’s not my taste, but it’s not much different than Hamilton. Although…the “-let” ending makes it look like the meaning of Hamlet should be “little ham.” But then, some children could be called that.

TheNameFreak Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 1:36 am

you forgot Anally. i’m sure it’s an alternate spelling for Annalee, but it’s so unfortunate.

liviajoan Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 2:09 am

I actually really like Patch and Rosary. Rosary isn’t too unwearable, as you can call her Rose or Ree.

liviajoan Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 2:09 am

Also you forgot Hashtag!

ScarlettsMom Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 2:36 am

There’s a movie that features a teenage boy named Handsome. He totally sells it – at least I thought so!

Beautyful? Yikes.

WaltzingMoreThanMatilda Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 3:35 am

I like Rosary, Vegas and Hamlet.

I can’t really see what’s wrong with simple Emperor when King is on the Top 1000 and Messiah is fast-rising. Messiah makes Emperor look quite humble in comparison.

Courtin Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 3:57 am

I really don’t mind Price and Messer.

Ysaline Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 6:06 am

Yeah, I was expecting to see Anally on this list. Pryce doesn’t bother me so much as I think of it as a surnamey name first, and its literal meaning isn’t my first thought when I hear it. I prefer it to Cash, at any rate.

Is it possible Shady is supposed to be pronounced sha-DEE? I’ve heard this name before but transcribed as Shadi. It would be a pain to have to correct people all the time if that’s the case, but not the end of the world.

I never understand the comments about Unique-Younique-Yunique. The parents who choose this name aren’t necessarily claiming that their child’s NAME is unique, only that their child is, which is hard to argue against. It’s not a name I like, but I don’t think it’s fair to presume that parents who choose it believe they are the only ones doing so.

Lieseysmom Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 6:55 am

I have a grandfather named Erie, and it’s a very popular middle name in my family. I still don’t care for it at all though. Fun Fact: He was born in a town called Odd. Price/Pryce could work as a family middle name. The rest are pretty horrible!

maggiemary Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 7:17 am

I’m just trying to absorb the fact people have named their daughters Beautyful.

Pam Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 7:20 am

Hey everyone, Anally was given to SEVEN girls last year, not five which was the parameter I set for this list. But yeah, I really should broaden my horizons! All suggestions welcome….

rosamonte Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 7:29 am

Rosario means rosary, and the name sounds pretty (and traditional and religious) in Spanish, but Rosary does seem too literal as a name.

Finuneby Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 7:38 am

I think Erie, Pryce, Rosary, Ralphy and Hamlet are wearable. If Cash is a name, Pryce could be. Ralphy isn’t so different from all the other nickname boy names out there. Hamlet at least has a literary reference to it.

Pam Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 7:45 am

Erie must sound different in my head than it does in everyone else’s. I just hear eerie, as in weird, creepy, strange….

boyandgirl Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 9:36 am

It’s not my personal favorite, but is Ralphy really one of the worst names? It reminds me of Ralphy from A Christmas Story. I think it is kind of cute.

iamamiam Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 10:31 am

Melena, Nero.

Just because you didn’t pay attention in history class or look at a medical dictionary doesn’t mean that everyone else is an idiot. And they are appalled at these horrid choices.

iamamiam Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 10:33 am

Also Erie is has a beautiful pronunciation in Ireland, but I agree the spelling would have to be changed to match.

Kibby Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 10:46 am

Maybe Erie is a misspelling of Irie??

karateleshi80 Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 11:10 am

Assia and Harshit could be foreign names so could be perfectly acceptable for their background. I have foreign friends who grew up or migrated here and names like Princess, Lady and Apple are very common in their country of origin. Australia is very multicultural maybe more so than the US and UK.

Some of these other names who knows why the parents named the kids these names!? speaking of living up to names, I overheard a lady talking to another, she said her daughter’s name is Lovely. Some people i come across are so embarrassed by their real name or have a western nickname and they make up a nick name and insist you call them that.

EmilyVA Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 11:22 am

I also think eerie. That’s how the lake is pronounced. I understood why Pam put it on the list.

Also I have never heard of anyone first name Hamilton. I think part of this is a regional thing. I live in the Northeast where we tend to be more conservative with names. A lot of more out there names would sound fine in Texas, not so much here.

@WaltzingMoreThanMatilda
I agree with your points about Emperor vs. Messiah.

I don’t think Harshit is usable here in the states. It reminds me of that guy who immigrated legally to the states and changed his first name to Andy. His birth name Fuh King was normal before he moved here, but afterwards people’s minds went some place else.

bonfireazalea Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 7:58 pm

How do I look at the SSA list past the top 1000? Could someone please provide a link? And also, being Canadian (from Ontario) I would love to know if there’s a Canadian version of the SSA list! I’ve looked for it before but with no luck. TIA!

Pam Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Here is the link: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/OACT/babynames/limits.html

You need to download the national data.

And no, Canada does not keep one national popularity list to my knowledge. Name popularity lists are kept separately by different provinces and vary widely.

charliedog99 Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 9:14 pm

My maiden name is Hamilton and if we were to have more children and had a boy, I would give him the first name of Hamilton. We live in Connecticut but we are new transplants to the Northeast. It’s not unheard of where I come from that the mother’s maiden name is used as the first name for one of her children so long as her maiden name isn’t something like “Wachowski” or something that is really far fetched as a first name. Not that there is anything wrong with “Wachowski” 😉

Haili73 Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 9:55 pm

Okay, I could live with Rosary for a girl. She could go by Rosa or Rose. It’s not that bad.
If I had to pick the best of the worst for boys, I’d say Maximum isn’t terrible; it’s the name of the hero of the series Maximum Ride, but…then again, that Max is a girl.

megkrichardss Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I can’t wait to see the name Largess appear somewhere.

megkrichardss Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Knew a guy by the name of Yorin (spelled a tad differently, but pronounced, in his native tongue, as “Yur-in” which sounded just like Urine, to English ears. Perfectly respectable name where he came from. Makes me wonder what a lot of our names sound like in other languages.

Aurora Says:

May 31st, 2013 at 11:14 pm

bonfireazalea, here are links for names used in Ontario from 1917 to 2010. It’s interesting:

http://www.ontario.ca/government/ontario-top-baby-names-female
http://www.ontario.ca/government/ontario-top-baby-names-male

miriannco Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 12:12 am

Interesting girls names I found on (a very small portion of) the list include: Stormy/Stormie, Marvellous, Real, Smith, Sparkle, Africa, Joyful, Loyal, Man, Milove, Say, Any, Cincere, Imunique, Dusti & far too many incorrectly spelt variations of Nevaeh.

I didn’t make it to the boys list.

charlieandperry1 Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 5:04 am

Fun list! There are some corkers in the E&W stats. For boys, I found Awesome, Randy, Mate, Excellent, Great, Bright, Marvellous and Baby. For girls- Hasty, Winner, Victorious and Tequila (:

akky3210 Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 12:40 pm

What really gets me is that they didn’t even spell beautiful correctly.

LexieM Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 1:02 pm

I actually have Eerie on my GP list.
I know all the reasons why it’s not a good idea,
but there is just something about the quality and sound of the word that I like.

pookid Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Thanks…….Rosary happens to be my name……and my aunt’s name……and her aunt’s name……it’s the English translation of the popular name in Spain – Rosario……rosary is a place where roses are grown.

SugarPlumFairy Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 5:23 pm

I don’t understand the problem with Rosary at all? Rosario and Rosaria are fairly traditional names among European Catholics.

Eerie, Pryce, Hamlet, Masser don’t sound that bad to me (I’m guessing most would be family surnames? that could explain Disney, too). And you can’t really help multicultural names.

Many of these are awful, though. I’m so glad there we have naming laws here.

shieldsc Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 5:24 pm

Patch is my brother’s nickname (his full name is Patrick). I actually really like it! Of course, he has been Patch since long before the Patch news websites hit the scene! 🙂

mariahsweet Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 7:48 pm

I like Patch as a nickname for Patrick, as Shield mentions above. I think Rosary is pretty, too.

skizzo Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 9:08 pm

I like Pryce (on boys) and I dont see what’s bad about Ralphy. Nicknamey, but that’s fine with me.

Jamie_Stanford_16 Says:

June 1st, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Rosary sounds pretty,though it’s a little too literal. Younique, Stonie & Dolton, on the other hand….(-_-‘)

karateleshi80 Says:

June 2nd, 2013 at 2:10 am

I forgot to add my husband’s friend came across the name Kerosene. His friend said Kerosene? to the mother she said “what? her name is not Kerosene it’s Kah-Ross-Sin-Knee”.

tillyxengineer Says:

June 2nd, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I knew an Erie was a very pretty girl. Her mum was French and pronounced it Eh-ree. It sounds beautiful.

I’m also fond of the Mad Men reference Pryce 😉

jenagain Says:

June 2nd, 2013 at 3:32 pm

I’m with the others who think Rosary could work.

And I also agree with the sentiment that names that are perfectly acceptable in one location don’t always make the hop well to another. Grew up knowing of a girl named Shitass (pronounced shih-TOSS). Poor girl. Her parents (immigrants) didn’t realize it when they named her. That didn’t make it any easier for her in high school.

chesapeakechic Says:

June 2nd, 2013 at 4:44 pm

i dont find Ralphy or Rosary that bad IMO.Carrion isnt horrible (if pronounced karr-e-in not ‘carry-on”) either

OceaneBreeze Says:

June 2nd, 2013 at 6:14 pm

I definitely feel bad for people named Beautyful. As a Michigan native, I dont see the problem with Erie, and I love the charachter Ralphy from A Christmas Story so that name is fine to me. Charlieandperry1: someone actually namey their daughter Tequila? Thats terrible!

linelei Says:

June 2nd, 2013 at 10:10 pm

I’m going to join the defense of Rosary, but you can have the rest! When considering a name, we must say it aloud as well as read it. And a girl whose name sounds like “price,” especially when things like human trafficking still very much exist… not good juju! Also, as much as I love Star Wars (and believe me, that’s a lot!) I can’t get behind Vader. There are so many more subtle names that can pay homage to the SW universe. Save Vader for your black lab. 😉

charlieandperry1 Says:

June 5th, 2013 at 4:37 am

@OceaneBreeze: Yep, 3 girls were named Tequila in 2011!

Aderstine27 Says:

June 29th, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Randy is just short for Randall, and I see nothing wrong with that name considering it was in the top 100’s list in the 60’s.

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