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Word Names You Won’t Believe

April 23, 2020 Sophie Kihm
Surprising word names

Word names for babies are an ever-expanding category, but some words don’t quite work as names.

We came across this thread on Twitter last week, asking which words would make good baby names — if they didn’t have less-than-ideal meanings. Suggestions ranged from Omelette to Insomnia (plus more on our Instagram — how about Arugula or Frizzy?) and got us wondering: are any of these words actually used as names?

It turns out, yes. We scoured the data and found some truly unexpected words that five or more sets of parents used for their children in 2018.

Here, the most surprising words that are being used as names:

Shocking Word Names

Alias — Given that Alias means an assumed name, this choice used for 44 boys last year feels particularly meta. A related name: Cypher, used for eleven little boys. We prefer Sincerity, a name given to nine baby girls.

Arson — Arson is a straight-up crime, but that didn’t stop six sets of parents from choosing it for their sons (another 26 used Arsen). On the other hand, you might use Testimony (given to six baby girls) and contend that your child is Innocent, as the parents of five baby boys did in 2018.

Awesome — Many of the new word names can be a boon to their bearer’s self-esteem. Nine little boys born in 2018 can say with all sincerity, “I’m Awesome.” Add to that the 31 girls who are Savvy, the 15 who are Honest, 12 who are Holy, eight boys who can call themselves Wise, and five named Perfect.

Boss — Every parent who’s survived life with a newborn knows who’s the boss, so why not come right out and choose it as your baby’s name? 16 boys were called Boss in 2018, with another 33 named Captain, 18 called Chief, and 21 named Master. On the girls’ side, there were 61 little Goddesses of their parents’ worlds, along with eight named (why be modest?) Czarina.

Celebrity — The glitz and glam of Hollywood culture is so alluring, it inspired six sets of parents to name their daughters Celebrity. Aspirational names like Royal and Majesty are growing in popularity, and Celebrity is a very American take on the trend. Another six girls were named Elite and eight boys were called Famous.

Diary — “Dear Diary” isn’t just for private journals anymore — at least not for the eight girls who were given it as a name in 2018. More children were given names taken from items found around the house: 29 girls were called Fanta, 17 children were named Kindle, and twelve boys’ parents found inspiration in the refrigerator door when they named their sons Dijon.

Envy — An anti-virtue name if there ever was one, Envy was given to 24 girls in 2018. We don’t believe that word names automatically determine destiny, but the six sets of parents who named their sons Furious are just asking for toddler tantrums and teenage angst, and five may be setting their daughters up to be Shy.

Gamble — It’s generally not recommended to name your child after your vices, whether you like to Gamble in Vegas (as the parents of six and thirteen baby boys do, respectively), or have a penchant for Chardonnay or Hennessy — given to five and 73 baby girls in 2018, respectively. Margarita, used for 106 girls, has more legitimacy.

Gorgeous — The nine girls named Gorgeous in 2018 will always remember how good-looking they are — as will the six girls called Pretty, 27 named Beauty, and 44 called Beautiful. But if they don’t turn out to be the most attractive? That could get uncomfortable.

Havoc — Adding a child to the family is a hectic time of life — one that can be commemorated by naming your child Havoc, as twenty sets of parents chose to do in 2018. There’s also Chaos, used for five baby boys, or Mayhem, given to six. Another way to really enforce your son’s wild-child ways is by calling him Savage, as eight boys were named.

Indica & Sativa — For those of you who don’t live in legalized states, Indica and Sativa are the two main varieties of weed. Indica was used as a name for 31 baby girls last year, while Sativa was given to 18 girls. Interestingly, no baby girls were named Marijuana, which is an actual name. Lest you worry the boys were left out, 18 baby boys were called Kush, and six were name Kilo.

Kinda — We guess Kinda is kinda cute, if you pronounce it to rhyme with Linda, that is. It’s technically a variation of Kendall, but we suspect most of the seven parents who used it for their daughters were inspired by the contraction of “kind of.” Another noncommittal girl name: Maeby, given to six baby girls.

Romance — We can only assume that the nights of these children’s conceptions were ones of great Romance (given to seven boys), Passion (used on 38 girls), and Delight (given to seven girls). The purpose of these names is to Reminisce — which itself is the name of six girls born in 2018.

Shanty — A shanty is a rickety shack and it’s also a name given to seven baby girls. 33 girls were called Sham, 20 boys were called Shade, nine boys were named Sway and eight girls called Southern. As names, these S-starting choices are all very Shiny — itself used for five baby girls.

Trigger — Weapon-related words are being coopted as names, with Trigger being given to 15 boys in 2018, and Shooter to ten. For girls, Beretta, a gun brand, was used 20 times. Knives too — 39 boys were called Blade, 26 given Cutter (another 20, Kutter), 14 boys were named Saber and five girls Sabre.

Which names surprised you the most?

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.

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