Our world is a glorious one, with 195 countries, five oceans, and seven continents. Every country is different from the next, shining a light on different languages, religions, laws, and even names. While names like Sara and Adam are typical in the US, they just might be banned in other countries. Every country has their reasoning for why certain names are banned, but what's "strange" to one country is normal to the next.
Nowadays, it seems like each parent is trying their best to make their child more unique than the rest. Why name kids something bland when they can be named something that no one else would think of? With billions of people on the planet, every parent wants to make their child special; someone their teachers and peers will always remember. This could mean changing the spelling of a popular name (like Mychal instead of Michael), or it could mean a mom naming her child 'Watermelon' or 'Nutella.' And don't think naming a child "Nutella" is too far fetched, because someone tried doing this in France before the name was banned by the country.
So besides Nutella, what other names are banned around the world? From symbols to fruit, here are 25 silly names.
25 CHINA: @
Surprise! Apparently, there was a parent in China who tried naming their child the "@" symbol. I wish I was making this up, but I'm not. According to Mental Floss, "the '@' symbol is pronounced 'ai-ta'" in the language. The word for the symbol itself apparently sounds like the phrase "love him." However, this name (symbol) was shut down by the country's government. And in case a parent there tried naming their child after a number, those are also banned as names.
24 Hungary: Stephen
The name Stephen is very popular in North America (seen as Steven or Stephen). There's Stephen Curry, the NBA star; Stephen King, the legendary author; and Stephen Hawking, the legendary physicist. However, the same love for the name in America isn't shared in Hungary. The name "Stephen" is against the law in Hungary. However, if it's spelled "Stefán," it's allowed (as it's the Hungarian spelling).
Business Insider explains that if a parent does want to name their child something that's not typical, they must apply for it through the Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
23 Mexico: James Bond
James Bond is a beloved character around the world. Men wanted to be him and women wanted to date him; he was a man of mystery. In Mexico, however, the name "James Bond" is not so desired. According to Culture Trip, "In 2012, the northern ... state of Sonora banned 61 names that they thought could cause children being picked on later on in their lives." One of those 61 names was James Bond. Although truth be told, I think anyone named James Bond would make them cooler.
22 Morocco: Sarah
Found in North Africa, Morroco has a few names that are simply unacceptable in the country. And believe it or not, the name "Sarah" is a banned name. Funny enough, "Sarah" is extremely popular in North America. I'm pretty sure I had at least one Sarah in every class I had in high school and college. Mental Floss explains that there, "parents must choose from a list of acceptable names that properly align with '[the cultural] identity.'" Oddly enough, the spelling of the name "Sarah" is on that list.
Sara is perfectly acceptable in Morroco, but when it's spelled with an "H," it's considered to be the Hebrew spelling.
21 Italy: Venerdi (Friday)
If you ask me, Friday is the best day of the week! Everyone is in a good mood, getting ready for the weekend. The name, however, is not so loved in Italy. The country has jurisdiction to dictate whether or not the name of a child will lead to "limit social interaction and create insecurity." And I guess being named "Friday" will lead to insecurity because the name is banned.
Mental Floss explains that after a family tried naming their son "Venerdi" (meaning Friday), a judge made them change the name to avoid "mockery."
20 France: Nutella
Nutella is the delicious spread made from hazelnuts, sugar, and chocolate. It's great on toast, in coffee, on top of cupcakes... Nutella is life. Well, in America, that is. In France, however, the word is banned as a name.
In 2016, Mental Floss explained how a couple in France tried naming their child Nutella, hoping she'd be as sweet as the spread. A judge, however, was not a fan of the sweetness and demanded they change the name due the potential of "mockery and disobliging remarks.”The name was shortened to "Ella" instead...
19 Denmark: Monkey
All monkey breeds are adorable. They're so incredibly human-like that anything they do that resembles us makes our heart warm. You know, mainly because they're fuzzy and sweet. Regardless of my facilitation with monkeys, naming your child as such in Denmark is deemed not OK. With a list of 7,000 pre-approved names on it, you will not find the name "Monkey" on it because it is banned. The name "Monkey" is considered too sassy for the name of a child; too smart. Maybe the mom who tried naming her child Monkey in the first place can just use that name as a nickname?
18 Mexico: Batman
Batman is a stellar comic book character, action star in movies, and a solid choice as a Halloween costume; but as a name? Not in Mexico! If there is a name that is too "derogatory, pejorative, discriminatory or lacking in meaning," it will be turned down by the state of Sonora. In this case, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say Batman has lack of meaning, but it could mean differently for the parents in question. Suppose they wanted their son to have all the redeeming qualities Batman has?
17 New Zealand: Cinderella Beauty Blossom
I always wondered why I've never encountered a woman named Cinderella, but now I know why. While I've met a few Belles and Arielles, names like Cinderella and Snow White are near non-existent. In New Zealand, however, the specific name Cinderella Beauty Blossom is off-limits to parents. The Register explains that the country "does not allow names that would cause offense or that are longer than 100 characters." The site brings up the fact that officials will also do their best to talk parents out of such silly names like these.
16 Germany: Stompi
Before the new law was introduced in recent years, Germany had a ban on people having multiple surnames. It's very common in America for a child to have both their mother's maiden name and father's last name as their last name; the same can be said for a bride who doesn't want to leave her identity. Part of the problem with multiple surnames is that Germany had a law against "too long of names." Now that the law has changed, it seems they've shifted their energy toward strange names instead. A few years ago, parents wanted to name their child Stompi, but after it was rejected by the local registrar.
15 Sweden: Ikea
Most lovers of Ikea know that the brand hails from Sweden. With so many different things to decorate a home with, and somehow delicious food in their store's cafeteria, Ikea is much more than just a furniture store; it's an experience. While the brand is still popular in its native Sweden, naming a child after the superstore is not allowed. Apparently, the country has the right to shoot down a name that could cause others "discomfort" or cause offense to others. And in this case, I guess that name is "Ikea."
14 Denmark: Pluto
Along with the name "Monkey," the name "Pluto" is also on the banned list in Denmark. As Business Insider reiterates, out of 7,000 pre-approved names to choose from, names like "Pluto" don't make the cut. In fact, every name needs to be pre-approved and almost 20% are denied due to skewed meanings or strange spellings. I guess this is why it's important to think of one or two backup names in case the first name is shunned. Although Denmark is beautiful, I suppose individualized names is not their forte.
13 France: Strawberry
Strawberries are tasty and cute, but they are not suitable names — at least in France. Along with Nutella, there was once a set of parents who wanted to name their child after their favorite fruit and were turned down after trying. Once a name is given, the birth certificate is sent to the local court, and it's up to them to decide if the name is in the baby's "best interest" or not. In this case, the court felt the name Strawberry could lead to a lifetime of "mockery." Do they have a point?
12 Mexico: Robocop
Most people are familiar with the action film RoboCop. It's essentially about a policeman who gets turned into this RoboCop after being attacked by a group of gang members. Now, much stronger than the other officers, his duty to deal with crime is amplified. The movie may have done well in box offices, but what about the name "RoboCop"? Is that suitable for a child? Not in Sonora, Mexico, it isn't. The name "RoboCop" is on their list of banned names. I guess the parents could still use the name as a nickname?
11 Norway: Gesher (Bridge)
Norway is yet another country who has an issue with what parents are naming their spawn. After trying to name their child Gesher (meaning Bridge in Hebrew), the mother actually landed in jail for two days for selecting a name that was no on the country’s pre-approved list (not to mention a $420 fine). The name, however, came to the mother in a dream — how could she not name her child after a name she woke up loving?
10 Australia: LOL
I wish I was lying with this entry, however, it appears that two parents have tried naming their child “Lol" in the land of Australia. Now, I’m not sure if “Lol” means “laugh out loud” to these parents or perhaps it was an abbreviation to a fuller name, nevertheless, it was banned from the country. Laughing out loud is something one does, it’s not a name. I hope their little baby is giggling on their beaches with a name that's not an abbreviation...
9 Switzerland: Paris
For a country as beautiful as Switzerland, why would they mind they someone named their child an equally beautiful city? The name “Paris” was banned in Switzerland after it was sent to the Swiss Civil Registrar, which is something all parents must do. If the first name is named after one of the parent's last names, a brand, or a place — the name is most likely a no-go in that society.
People there would get a kick at seeing how some babies are named in the States. There are many children named after places and cities.
8 Portugal: Jimmy
If you grew up in America, the chances are you know at least two Jimmys (James, Jim, or Jimmy). It's a common name that's kind of perfect for boys since they can be called "Jimmy" when they're young, and James when they're older. In Portugal, however, it's a little different. As Business Insider says, Portuguese names must be"traditionally [of that country], gender-specific, and full, meaning no nicknames." That being said, it looks like the name Jimmy is both non-traditional and a nickname.
7 Sweden: BRFXXCCXXMNPCCCCLLL...
Another Swedish name that makes this list is "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclll mmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116." I'm serious — this isn't a typo, that's an actual name that parents tried pulling. But just like the name Ikea, the name was banned and the couple was fined. To make matters trickier, the couple never legally filed the needed paperwork, meaning by the time the government found out about the name, their child was already 7 years old. Boing Boing explains that the couples were fined almost $700 and even tried naming their child "A" instead of "Brfxxccxxmnpcccclll mmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116."
6 Saudi Arabia: Linda
Just like the names Sarah and Jimmy, Linda is another common name in North America. You might not see it too much anymore, but for most '90s kids, they know many Lindas as parents. In Saudi Arabia, however, the name Linda is banned. Business Insider says the country has more than 50 names on the list that parents cannot choose from; names that sound "too foreign." The country also makes a not to make sure no names interfere with their own religion or social traditions.
5 Switzerland: Chanel
Just like naming a child "Paris," the name "Chanel" is also banned from Switzerland. Business Insider reminds us that "If the name is deemed to harm the child's well-being or be offensive to a third party, it will not be approved." Now, I don't know about you, but Chanel is mainly known for the mega huge fashion brand by the same name. It's a classy, Parisian clothing line that surrounds itself around timeless, upscale pieces. I don't really find that association offensive, but Switzerland clearly does.
4 Mexico: Rambo
When most people think of the name "Rambo," they typically think about the movie featuring Sylvester Stallone. But it's not really a pleasant movie. I don't think anyone gets the warm fuzzies while watching Rambo — hoping to one day name their child after the action character. Then again, one family tried to do that in Mexico and got turned down. To prevent children from being picked on, the area of Sonora banned the name, meaning you're not going to find too many Rambos in Mexico.
3 Malaysia: Chow Tow (Smelly Head)
One of my favorite things about different countries and cultures are the languages. There are so many beautiful languages around the world that many of us would love to discover. As an expat myself, I'm always a fan of their slang words; what's their go-to? Well, apparently in Malaysia, the term "chow tow" is used among children, which references "smelly head." This is the kind of term that we might hear on the playground, but one parent tried naming her kid Chow Tow before it was banned.
2 Iceland: Zoe
Zoe is such an adorable name — how could it be banned? There are a ton of Zoes in America, including Zoe Saldana and Zoe Kravitz! But just because one name is popular in one country, doesn't mean it's universal. In Iceland, they banned the name Zoe, along with half the requests they get from locals. As Business Insider announces, the locals must follow a strict guideline in terms of naming their child. "Among these requirements, names must be capable of having [standard to Iceland] grammatical endings, may not conflict with the linguistic structure of Iceland, and should be written in accordance with the ordinary rules of [that culture's] orthography."
1 Sweden: Superman
Well, it seems Mexico isn't a fan of Batman and Sweden isn't a fan of Superman... I guess they're not looking for heroes anytime soon! The country doesn't approve of any first name that is deemed "unsuitable." If parents do tell the government what they're planning on naming their child, they could be given a major fine on behalf of the Tax Agency in Sweden.
Seeing names like Monkey, Cinderella, Batman, and even Linda — are you inspired to think outside of the box for your next child's name, or are you happy America's naming laws aren't as strict?