When searching for the perfect name for your new baby, it is essential to do your research. Meanings, trends, and simple overuse have been responsible for making what sound like a decent name go from good to horribly bad.
While a name might sound melodious, you might not be aware of the original meaning. Here’s looking at you, Sharpay. I’m sorry your mom didn’t know you’re named after a dog breed. But now you’ll be reminded of it till you hit 18 and march yourself to the Social Security office for a name change.
Common nouns are another name phenomenon. I know a few gentle Sparrows, a couple of Aces and a handful of Olives (yes, these are children!) I have a neighbor whose children are named Paris, London, and Tulsa. Okay, okay, not bad, right? It’s not until you know that they were named after the city where they were conceived. Poor Tulsa! Evidently, the travel budget was a little low when he rolled around.
Popular culture is also responsible for new names. The early 2000s ushered in the Twilight series and introduced us to the characters of Bella and Esme. Nowadays it’s Game of Thrones and the names Arya and Sansa. While some of these names work, others (Aro? Khaleesi?) might not. Pokémon Go is rumored to have spawned a few babies named Charizard. Really.
What follows are twenty names that are out there and on the rise. Due to their true meaning, bizarre sound, or absolute absurdity, they should probably be avoided.
I’ve heard a mother crying “Ragnar!” in the corridor of the preschool where I work, and the name is frequently discussed on pregnancy naming sites. Every time I hear or read it, I clamp my hands over my ears and die a little bit inside.
Currently, Ragnar is not on the Top 1000 Names in the Social Security Index of names. To protect sensitive ears and the sanctity of lovely-sounding names, I beg for your help to keep it that way.
Oh, there really was a Ragnar. Ragnar Lodbrok was a legendary Danish and Swedish hero and ruler. Ragnar made a name for himself by raiding France and England during the 9th century.
In recent history, Ragnar has been reintroduced on the popular TV show Vikings, played by hottie actor Travis Fimmel.
Also, RAGNAR is the name of the series of long-haul relay races. If you’ve ever seen six fit millennials tumble out of a van, the orange Ragnar butterfly emblazoned across the back window, then you know what I’m talking about.
Tahiti is picking up in popularity. A girl’s name, Tahiti evokes images of swaying palm trees and the largest island in the Windward group of French Polynesia.
Even though the name conjures up exotic images and locales, it is strictly American, as it’s not mentioned on the list of Top 100 Polynesian Names for French Polynesia. So, why is the name climbing on the charts?
Perhaps the name has gained traction from its presence in Marvel’s, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where Tahiti was the name of a popular episode.
It could also be possible that Tahiti glided in with the other current tropical, moniker, Moana. But while the Disney popular Moana has a smooth flow and sound, Tahiti doesn’t. It’s quite difficult to say it three times in a row without twisting up your tongue. Tahiti, Tahiti, Tahiti. Phew.
If you’re looking for something warm and breezy, I would advise checking out the Top 100 Polynesian Names. On that list are lush and flowing name choices like Noemie, Jade, and Lucie.
2008 was the height of modern popularity for the name Hillary when it registered at #722 for most popular girl names. The name’s origins are Latin, and are derived from the word “hilarious” meaning “cheerful” or “merry”, which were then turned into the Greek “hilaos”, which means “propitious” and “gracious”.
There was nothing “cheerful” or “gracious” about the last U.S. presidential election. What you are seeing is how the name Hillary is a perfect case in point of what happens when a name is too-tightly aligned with a particular person. It’s a shame too because the name has a pretty sound and a beautiful flow.
If you like the sound or meaning of Hillary, perhaps go with Ilaria, which if the popular Italian or Spanish form of the name. Another option could be Hilaria, like Alec Baldwin’s yoga expert wife, Hilaria Baldwin. Or, wait a few years (until the fury has died down) and re-release Hillary unto the world.
Not one to pick political sides, I now offer up the name of Donald Trump’s son, Barron.
Despite the spelling and meaning of the word “baron”, I can’t help but think of the homophone of “barren”—which means “poor, infertile, lifeless.”
“Oh, so sad! Why would they effectively name their kid ‘bleak’ and ‘sterile’?” I asked my husband.
“No,” He replied. “It’s Barron, as in ‘aristocrat’ or ‘rich’.”
“Oy. That’s worse,” I said.
Indeed, the word “baron” is a rank of nobility among the wealthy. But the term doesn’t always have a positive connotation. Back in the late 19th century, “robber baron” became a nasty metaphor applied to conniving, unscrupulous business practices pursued by American businessmen to get ahead.
For the record, it is said that Donald and Melania named their 11-year-old son “Barron” with 2 “n”s after the business magazine that bears the name. Huh!
Whether Barron conveys “poor”, “rich”, or a “periodical” is up to an individual’s interpretation, but the only thing certain about the name is that it’s loaded with many meanings.
Uh oh! Here we go with another superhero name making the jump to real life. And it seems like we’re all going to need to summon our superhero strength to say “No” to the name Antiope and lasso it back where it came from.
The name has gained traction because Antiope is the name of Wonder Woman’s mom in the DC Marvel serial, and in 2017 was portrayed by the beautiful Robin Wright for the live action film Wonder Woman.
But hold it up, Ladies. According to a pronunciation video of YouTube, Antiope is pronounced anti-opi, as in “one who is against Opie”. Yeah, I’m not really digging the sound of that.
However, let us not discount the Greek mythology roots of Antiope, and the possibility to plunder some decent names from the tales. Apparently, Antiope was the Amazonian daughter of the Boeotian river god, Asopus (another name ‘no-no’- go ahead and sound it out). But, hang on—this is where it gets good—Antiope was the daughter of Ares, and the mother of Diana Prince, otherwise known as Wonder Woman.
Ares? Diana? Well now. Those are two names that have a nice punch to them.
This might not come as a shock to you, but Minerva has not broken through to the Social Security Index Top 1000 Baby Names List. But many baby naming websites are trying to make it a “thing” and I’m here to tell you that you’ve been warned.
Minerva is Latin, and means “of the mind, intellect”. It is the name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention. Minerva Pott is a strong female in the Charles Dickens novel The Pickwick Papers and is one of the nasty stepsisters in Cinderella.
In recent years, Minerva is a name given to fantastical, fanciful characters in children’s literature. Most famous is Professor Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter Series, and Minerva Mirabel in Julia Alvarez’s book, In the Time of the Butterflies.
The name was popular in the 1920s and shared the charts with Bernice and Thelma.
But while the somewhat stodgy Minerva can be shortened to the somewhat adorable “Minnie”, should we?
Another early-warning alarm is being issued for the name Snoke. This has to be done when a wildly successful movie is released, as is the case with Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
“Oh come on,” you say. “Who would name their child Snoke?”
To you, I say, “Have you forgotten about the name Kylo?”
Yes, in 2016, Kylo sits on the Social Security Index list at a hot 901. It broke thru the Top 1000 names in the United States. I will agree that Kylo sounds pretty.
Unlike Snoke, which bears a resemblance to the sound your throat makes when bringing forth a booger. Also, In Googling Snoke, I was alarmed when “Snoke name meaning” popped up in my search bar. NO PEOPLE! This name has no meaning because it’s a made-up word for a fantastical character!
Well, actually, if you insist on accuracy, Snoke’s name is reported to be an acronym for another name, which, according to leakers might be revealed in the next Star Wars installation. Word is that the name is Victor. As in “victorious!” Now that’s a strong name worth repeating.
This is not a joke. Despite the fact that the name is issued in 2 boxes, the IK on Aisle 26A and the EA on aisle 28B, the name IKEA is trending (capitals optional). Yes, the name is up 38 percent this week alone.
Why the buzz? I have no idea. Perhaps folks are finding Chanel and Tiffany are overused, Louboutin sounds like a French bacterial infection, and Target is too suburban. But Ikea sounds minimalist, funky.
IKEA, the famous village-sized store, is actually an acronym for the company’s creators. Ingvar Kamprad (the founder) Elmtaryd (the founder’s farm) and Agunnaryd (the founder’s village).
But the name is too synonymous with shopping. Go deeper. Browse the product names. Go with a Hemnes, a Grundtal, an Arild.
According to several baby naming sites, Seven means “Seven” or “the number 7”. Deep stuff.
Back in the 1990s, the TV show Seinfeld made fun of the name Seven when George threatened to bequeath his child with the strange moniker. That doesn’t stop the number name from rising up the charts in popularity. In 2016, one list has the name jumping 1,855 to sit at number 4,312. So while Seven is not wildly popular, it’s not nothing (or zero...ha!) either.
As strange and obscure as Seven sounds, the name has its adherents. Singer Erykah Badu named her daughter Seven and David Beckham’s daughter Harper has the middle name Seven. Beckham chose the name to echo the number he wore while playing for Manchester United. Beckham said that for him, the name “symbolizes spiritual perfection, the Seven Wonders Of The World and the seven colors of the rainbow.”
While we are on the topic of Number Names (so confusing, right?) let’s talk about Eleven, whose popularity has gone up 237% in the last year.
If you’re the mom of older children who sleep (and therefore spend any spare moment you have, sleeping) then you probably have no idea who Eleven is. If you have an infant, I bet you are familiar with the show Stranger Things. Am I right nursing moms, trapped on the couch for endless hours?
As a refresher, Eleven is pre-teen girl with telepathic and psychokinetic abilities and a small vocabulary. Add in the shaved head, and a uniform of a filthy, baby doll dress and dingy windbreaker, and she’s just kind of cute, but it a freaky way.
So, again, this name is gaining in popularity. And as cool as Eleven is, do you want to name your baby after a child who has blood leak out of her nostrils when she thinks too hard? I didn’t think so.
For the record, the character of Eleven’s full name is Jane Hopper. Feel free to do what you will with the name Jane.
I haven’t seen Carrion yet, but based on what I’ve seen in five years of working at a preschool, the name is coming. Believe me, it’s coming.
(Seriously, we have two 3-year-olds named Nixon. What’s next? Benedict Arnold? It’s worth noting that the two sets of parents who have bestowed their children with the name Nixon are under 25-years-old; they might have missed the history lesson on Nixon. We also have a darling Callaway, and why yes, his father is a golfer. Round it out with a Travisty, and I’m beginning to think not having “baby name rules” might a travesty!)
Back to Carrion. Boy, it sounds pretty enough. A modern-day Marion, with the trendy “C” beginning. It’s a mix of Carrie and Darrien and could actually be used for a girl or a boy.
Except it’s not okay. Because Carrion is roadkill. End of story. Next!...
I’ve heard the name Cherish before. It’s right up there with other honorable, virtue names like Faith, Hope, Blessing, and Grace. In fact, Cherish was recently ranked #974 on the SSI of names, with 273 American babies being bestowed with the moniker.
But we need to stop the nonsense known as Chairish. Right now. Oh, I know, people can get a bit creative with name spellings. Have you heard of the parents who named their daughter “Riley”, also commonly spelled “Ryleigh”, but took it one step further and spelled it “Rieghliegh”? That might be a tad much. No one will ever spell that poor child’s name correctly.
And while Chairish hasn’t made it onto any Hot 100 Names list, we must be careful. Stop it its tracks. No one wants a name that roughly translates to being “chair-like”. “Hey, Guys, let me introduce you to my friend Chairish. You’ll find, that just as her name indicates, she’s nice to sit on!”
“Hey Kyd, come here!”
“Hey Kyd, do you have a lot of homework?”
It sure does a natural ring to it, maybe because I call both of my children “Kid” all the time. And, don’t tell them this, but I do it because I have a tendency to interchange their names all the time, hopelessly annoying them. So, I’ve resorted to “Kid”.
But I’m not sure I could formally adopt “Kyd”. It would be like calling the dog “Dog” and even the dog is worthy a true name.
But alas, people are naming their children Kyd, with the name up 16 percent in popularity this week alone. Maybe we can blame Tea Leoni and David Duchovny, who named their son Kyd back in 2002. Going way back, we can look to Elizabethan times and the playwright Thomas Kyd, who gave us the surname version of the name.
Another issue would be attracting everyone’s attention. Calling “Emma!” in the classroom brings four girls running. If there was even one Kyd, and I yelled for him, a stampede of children would follow.
Last year, a friend of mine gave birth prematurely – at a scary 24 weeks. Despite tremendous odds, the baby survived. Her name is Arya, named after Arya Stark, from the Game of Thrones franchise. Her parents chose her name because they foresaw a future of swordplay and general badassery. Well, maybe not the swordplay, but they did entrust her with the heroine’s name because they saw the fighting spirit their daughter had. I get this.
Apparently, other parents have taken to Arya because in 2016 the name was on the SSA register at spot #169.
Enter Khaleesi, a name which has jumped to spot number 765 on the Top 1000 names in the United States. Khaleesi is another character from Game of Thrones. And whereas Arya has a wonderful sing-song quality to it, and Sansa sounds soothing, I’m not sure Khaleesi does. Dare I say it sounds like a drug to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis?
(With Khaleesi, up to 90% of patients saw a significant improvement of their psoriasis plaques).
The generation of girls being born today will shatter ceilings, rule the world, and maybe even keep dragons. And while it’s important to give them a strong name, it’s also worth considering how the name sounds.
Arrow is another strange noun being used as a name. Think about how Kim Kardashian and Kayne West named their baby North, a directional. Or Saint, an object. There is also the name Archer, which coincidentally, 85% of people in a poll preferred over the name Arrow.
Arrow’s meaning is listed as “word name”, but could also be defined as “straight, sharp, and fast.” Arrow also has a soft-sounding ending, making it a popular choice. But I’m not sure I’m on board with the name. and I’m not the only one.
In an episode of Billy on the Street, featuring Amy Poehler, the comedian harassed New Yorkers into singing Christmas carols with the couple. When they approached a reluctant woman with a baby, Billy tried to warm them up by asking the baby’s name.
“Arrow,” the woman replied.
“Arrow? No. Not dealing with that bulls-t name,” Billy said.
Neveah hit the scene in 2001, and peaked in popularity in 2010 when it occupied the high spot of #25 on the SSI of baby names. Since then, the name has been steadily falling. Good. Everyone came to their senses.
Nevaeh is described as a “modern, invented” name. That’s because it is! The name is an anagram—Heaven backward. So, parents choose to take a beautiful word like “Heaven” and reverse it so that it became a thick, white lotion used on dried-out elbows. Now come on! That’s not what they intended, right? But that’s what the name sounds like.
Also, in exploiting the “creativity” of this name, Nevaeh became overused and lost its one-time unique appeal. Couple this with the fact that parents have begun to spell it differently, such a “Neveah” and the anagram concept is completely lost.
Even a popular naming site urges readers to forgo “Nevaeh” and opt for the traditional “Heaven”.
For me, all it takes is an awful TV character to kill a decent name.
Enter Alby Grant, a fictional character in the early 2000’s HBO series, Big Love. The character, a closeted homosexual, and bigamist, is also loosely based on Warren Jeffs, the imprisoned President of the Fundamentalist Church of Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Alby looks down his nose on what he deems the morally repugnant but engages in the same behavior. He’s a hypocrite. Yuck.
The name Alby is a derivative of Albert, means “noble and bright”, and has Germanic roots. While Alby is not wildly popular in the US (it ranked #5,679 in 2017) the Albie spelling has rocketed to number 88 in England.
It seems inevitable that the variation of the name will rise in popularity on this side of the pond. If you choose it, I gotta just take it on good faith that you will help to change its perception. Thanks.
Casein is what happens when you take a standard name like “Jason” and freshen with a cool “C”. Like this…
“Hey Honey, we could take your name, Jason, and modernize it with a “C” It would be Casein!”
“Sounds great, Dear.”
Yes, it sounds great. But stop, look, and listen. Like Carrion, Casein has its own weird meaning. And even if it’s not as disgusting as Carrion, it’s still a slightly gross, if not loaded name.
Casein is the name for the protein found in mammals milk and is a major component in cheese. Worse yet, that protein is the culprit for certain dairy allergies and has been linked, (though not conclusively) to an increase in prostate cancer cells.
Here, I know what we can do. Drop the “i” and the name becomes “Casen”. Problem solved. Now, no one will look at your son and find themselves inexplicitly longing for a hunk of brie.
I can’t believe we need to address this dark name, but due to the fact that 6 Americans named their sons Lucifer last year, I think we do.
Surprisingly, Lucifer means “bringing light”, and is derived from the Latin “ferre”-to bring, and “lux”- light. Say what? I always thought Lucifer was another term for the devil or Satan. Well, yes, Lucifer is the name of the archangel pitched into hell, but scholars disagree on whether he and Satan are two different beings.
One thing is sure- the name has been banned in Germany and New Zealand and is taboo for religious parents. If anything, this is a confusing name, and who wants to bestow anything controversial on a newborn baby? If you need any more convincing that this is a weird choice, can you recall the name of the evil cat in Cinderella? Yes, it was Lucifer.
The above is a name. Yes, before you think I’ve taken creative license and made up a crazy name, let me assure you a woman in Australia named her daughter the funky mix of lowercase and capital letters. BECAUSE LIFE ISN’T HARD ENOUGH.
I don’t know about you, but I struggle with Roman numerals. I’m actually good with V, X, and I, but throw in a C or an L, and add in some real letters and I’m pretty sure we’ve moved on to Algebra. With that, I AM OUT.
So, what fresh hell is KVIIlyn? Okay, I’ll simplify this for you. Just remember that K is not a roman numeral and sound it out. K 8 Lyn. OH NO THEY DIDN'T! Oh yes, they did. And so proud was the mom of this made-up crazy spelling that she posted it in a magazine column. Parents everywhere were horrified, with one reader even reposting the article, and adding, “Surely this name is a form of child abuse?”