From the second we find out we’re having a baby, the search is on. We buy books, check websites, poll the message boards, ask our friends, and search through our family histories for the perfect baby name. It’s a moral imperative that we get this right because our beloved child will need to live with this decision for the rest of their lives, or incur some steep court costs changing it.
Choosing a name is the first and most important decision we make as parents, which is why it’s baffling that so many of us have gotten it so horribly, and inappropriately wrong. At this moment, there are thousands of babies all over the world who have been tragically saddled with an inappropriate moniker for at least their first eighteen years of life because of the capricious whim (or temporary insanity) of their parents, who were caught up in the quest for an original and creative name and didn’t fully think through the ramifications of their decision. This, though, is a decision, that must be thought through, fully.
Here are twenty-five examples of names that are so inappropriate, you might never stop cringing once you hear them.
Nevaeh is, on the surface, a very sweet and feminine name. But if we dig deeper, we see that Nevaeh is Heaven backwards. Nevaeh, the name you’ve given your precious gift from God, is the name of the place He lives in spelled BACKWARDS. If you spell something backwards, then you are actually saying the opposite, and the opposite of heaven is hell. You’ve just named your baby Hell. Hell Jones…or Wallbanger…or whatever your name is. Come on people. Have you learned nothing from satanic horror movies and back masking on Beatles albums? Maybe this is being overly superstitious, but considering the plausibility of The Omen, it’s best not to mess with stuff like that when it comes to naming babies. Just name the girl Heaven and be done with it. The last thing you want to do is sleep with one eye open.
Yes. Dick is a perfectly respectable name and the first name of some very respectable Dicks, like your dad, uncle or grandfather, and famous Dicks like Cavett, Van Dyke and, if the guy who keeps prank calling the local radio show is to be believed, Insider. If Dick is such a fine, upstanding name, why then are the first few sentences of this paragraph so giggle inducing? The thing that really makes this name inappropriate is that if the kid said it in another context, you’d give him a time out for swearing. So we have kids running around, playing hide and seek, and yelling out “I’m looking for Dick!” That right there is the definition of inappropriate. Can we all just stop with this name? What’s wrong with Richard, or Rich or Rick, or even Chard? Sure, it’s a vegetable, but there are worse things to name your kid after than a leafy green. Like Dick.
If we are going to talk about the inappropriateness of naming your son Dick (and to a lesser extent, Peter), we need to talk about the baffling popularity of the name Pink. Of course Pink, the colorfully attired pop star, and her stunning rise to fame is the reason for this popularity, but parents should think long and hard about giving their precious girl a name that is slang for the human lady bit. This is a fact that is well known to anyone who is familiar with skeevy, late-career Aerosmith songs or has been to a Hooters. Pink's real name is Alecia. Why not go with that? No one ever called their "v" Alecia. (One would hope.) Naming a baby anything that may reference sexual organs is a big no-no. It's awkward and may involve some explaining later in the kid's life. Avoid it all together.
This is a reported-on-Reddit name that may or may not be real, but if it is, it is really inappropriate. Sure, it’s a very positive name. However, you should never give a baby a name that has been featured in bold print, serifed-font, large type on the package of a wild cherry flavored lube available for purchase in a gas station men's room. Yes, it is true that babies are a joy and a pleasure, but the word pleasure leaves an unpleasant, artificially-flavored taste in our mouths. Ew is right! Let's keep the kids as innocent as possible while we still can. It would be better to go with Joy. It means the same thing, but it is not an integral part of any current national condom company’s advertising campaigns. Yet. Who knows, nowadays it seems like just about anything can be misinterpreted to be sexual.
This name is seemingly innocuous as a shortened version of Desiree, but the fact is that Desire and Desiree are two different names. Desiree is a French name meaning desired. Desire is a word that romance novel and erotica publishers have begged their writers to stop using quite so much. Desiree has just applied at a big ten college. Desire has just applied at a strip club named The Big Ten Inch. If we as a society have any superstition that a baby’s name will affect their future, then this name needs to be sent back to personal massager ads and the front covers of romance novels where it belongs. Also, it brings up some freudian stuff that is just too complicated to even get into. But let's avoid any Electra complex but keeping this name off the baby list.
Patriotic names are great. However, there is a big difference between naming your baby after a president or famous battle, or even naming your baby America, than naming your baby Merika. It just brings to mind low-level America and reality shows like that Honey Boo Boo that literally have us cringing.
At a certain point in your child’s life, you are going to want to teach him to spell stuff. Even if you don’t want to teach him to spell stuff, at some point, someone is going to want to teach him to spell stuff. This person is called a teacher and is underpaid and under appreciated. Don’t saddle him with teaching grammar to a kid whose own name is a misspelling of the country it purportedly pays tribute to.
Yes, this is a real name. And no, no one should name their child this ever. Well, I suppose it could be a cute name to pass down from a parent who won an Olympic medal for shooting, but we’re talking silver or better. No kid ever should be named for a word that is often used in sentences with other words like: “should be considered dangerous” or “was apprehended” or “has been given the highest mandatory sentence.” Also, every time little Shooter orders a coffee at Starbucks, it’ll cause an incident. The SWAT team might be called.
Also, let's not encourage early age drinking. Unless you want LMFAO's "Shots" song to be a ode to your little precious boy or girl.
Peyote sounds like a beautiful, new-agey spiritual name that would insure that your kid would be really, really into yoga, raw foods and meditation for the rest of her life. But let’s get real, you aren’t naming her after a vision quest or a soul journey in the desert, you are naming her after a drug that begins with cringing paranoia and eats with a barf session in an aloe plant. Before we know it, we'll be putting 'Ayahuasca' on this list. Let's steer clear of the drug-inspired names.
Also, what are you going to say to her when she leaves the house at fifteen, and when you ask her where she’s going, she tells you she’s going on a soul journey in the desert? What are you going to say, Moonbeam? Huh? “Don’t forget to bring an aloe plant, Peyote!”?
Names inspired by celebrities is all the rage. It wouldn't come as a surprise if there are a tone of Kims and Kanyes that will be taken over in 15-20 years. It is natural for everyone who has ever looked upon beauty and talent with awe and understanding to want to name their baby after Beyonce, but if you’re going to do it, do it. Tell everyone, “Hello, this is my new baby, Beyonce. I named her after the famous singer and all-around fabulous person because I want my baby to achieve greatness.” If you name your baby Deyonce, you’re just opening her up to lifetime of ball jokes. How? you ask. Picture this: She’s a teen, walking through the halls of her school, being very fabulous, when a voice calls out to her. “Hey DEE-yonce. I’ve got a Dee for you.” ‘Oh? What’s that?” “Deez Nuts!” If you honestly think that won’t happen, you do not know teenage boys.
We're throwing it back with this one. Buffy The Vampire Slayer fans are going to be tempted to give their baby boys this name, but they should resist that urge. Spike is not a baby name. Spike is what you do to footballs right before you get an “illegal celebration in the endzone” call. Spike is something that Vlad the Impaler would put his enemies heads on as a warning to his other enemies. Spike, is Spike Lee. (The only person who can seriously pull this name off) and Spike, though, first and foremost is a dog’s name and has been retired, along with Rover and Fido, forever from the realm of baby names. We can't picture any last names pairing well with Spike. And we advise against giving the baby a one name only, after all he's not Prince. So if you were digging Spike, let it go.
Cash seems like a simple, respectable sounding name for anyone, country music fan or otherwise, to name their baby boy. However, Cash is a wildly inappropriate name for a couple reasons. One, and most obviously, is what is happening with cash in our society. We are moving to a cashless society. Cash is becoming obsolete. Those two sentences are going to be repeated over and over again on blogs, tweets and news channels until the poor kid gets such a complex that he changes his name to ATM Card. Also, how are you ever going to teach him that money isn’t everything when you’ve named the most important thing in your life after it? Plus, the worst thing you can do is raise a greedy, spoiled kid so naming him Cash may start you off with a huge disadvantage.
At first glance, Buddy seems like a classic, if a bit old-fashioned, but completely affable name for a baby destined to go into the service or comedy industry. Buddy is even somewhat of an endearing name, so why not have it on the list of potential baby names? Well, here's why. A little foresight should show you that this will become an inappropriate name to the point of being problematic to anyone who wants to tell their teenage son, “I’m your parent, not your friend.” It's a classic parenting mistake. You don't want you're kid to feel like your buddy...so don't name him Buddy! Otherwise, the obvious comeback to that is “then why did you name me Buddy, then?” Also, Buddy is a dog name and shall forever be relegated to Dogs only (with the possible exception of cats and some hamsters) for the rest of time.
Dresden is an actual baby name that people actually use. Sense the sarcasm. That fact is nearly as inexplicable as why, in the final months of World War II, allied forces bombed this innocuous, non war-related city until it was nothing but a smoking crater filled with tens of thousands of dead bodies. Are you rethinking the name yet? No? Well, we're sure your kid will be thrilled once they get to history class to learn their name means war and massacre.
Yes, since then, Dresden has rebuilt and become a charming destination city, but still. People aren’t naming their babies after Hiroshima are they? At least, we really hope they aren’t doing that. Those names are too heavy for any one child to carry through life. Lighten things up a bit.
12 Majesty or Highness or Sir
Of course everyone’s precious newborn baby boy is a little Prince. The culmination of a long line of royalty. It’s natural to want his name to reflect this. However, this name is inappropriate because of the literal respect that it commands from everyone in the kid’s life. People by nature don’t like to be commanded into respect. There is not a third grade teacher in the world who would not let a small amount of derision seep into her voice as she repeatedly said the words “your highness” while talking to the kid who keeps losing his pencils in the urinal. That derision, small as it may be, will be amplified a thousand times by every one of his peers, and that amplification will coincide with a time in the little prince’s life when he would just like to blend into the crowd, thank you very much. Let him. Let him blend.
*This does not apply, obviously, for babies born to actual members of The Jackson family (i.e. Jermajesty and Prince).
11 Little Sweetmeat
This dubious boy’s name made a list of worst baby names that originated on Reddit and spread around the Internet in articles like this one. It’s hard to believe that anyone actually named their boy this, and honestly, this “real” baby name is probably a Reddit fairy tale. However, after the proliferation of these articles, there has been some discussion in baby boards about the actual possibility of using this name in real life. Here are three reasons to never, EVER use this wildly inappropriate name:
What if he’s not little? Or worse…what if he is?
Sweet is not always a good thing on the rough and tumble world of the playground. If you don’t want Little Sweetmeat coming home covered in bully saliva, just say no to this name.
Oh good God, NO! The word “meat” should never, ever be involved in a baby name. Meat has two connotations in our society. One: something that should be grilled, sauced and eaten. Two: human genitalia. Neither connotation is appropriate for a baby.
Colon, as in your large intestine, is an actual, real name that, considering it’s literally a tube for pushing poop out of your body, is fairly popular. This name has been around in this country since the early 1900s. The reason this name is so inappropriate is because children tend to go through a “potty talk phase” that starts in preschool and lasts until they're about fifty. Colon is, yes, a fine punctuation mark that also serves as eyes for smiley emoticons, but why would you name your son after such a scatological organ if you didn’t have to? Even if it’s a family name, wouldn’t it be better to deal with your Uncle Colon’s mild annoyance now, then dry the tears little Colon’s tears when he comes home crying about his new nickname at school: Poop Chute.
Lady might seem like a beautiful and apropos name for the child of any Yacht Rock fan, but it’s actually a very inappropriate girl's name, and an even more inappropriate boy's name. First of all, naming a girl Lady is about as imaginative as naming a boy Guy. Second, as much as the name Lady reminds you of songs by The Little River Band, Styx, The Commodores and Kenny Rogers and every other artist ever included in an AM Gold compilation record, it reminds everyone else of their childhood Irish setter. Yes, it's cool, Penny Lane's real name in Almost Famous was Lady. But, is she really the right role model? We'll let you decide. But Lady is on this list because when it comes down to it, Lady is a dog name, not a baby name. End of story.
Maverick seems like a very cool name for any kid, boy or girl, who will someday become a jet pilot, BMX rider or presidential candidate, and it is, but it’s not a given name. It’s a nickname. Nicknames are names that kids earn through careful, and occasionally dishonest, manipulation of their peers, or by showing up at camp and telling everyone, “People at my school call me Maverick. I guess you can call me that, too…if you want.” Besides, what do you think that child is going to say every single day, several times a day, when told what to do? “But I’m a maverick, Mom!” is a phrase that is going to get real old, real quick. It doesn't matter if you're the biggest Tom Cruise fan and have watched Top Gun more times than you can count, we ask that you don't count Maverick as a baby name contender.
7 John for a Girl
Parents who want to push the gender-normative societal boundaries have begun naming their baby girls John. Similarly, celeb couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds named their little girl, James. Cute. Gender neutral names are all fine and good. They are especially useful when sitcom writers need to come up with yet another hilarious mistaken-identity bit, but can we all, as a society, agree that John is not a gender neutral name? First of all, it is just so not Jane, which is the de facto female form of John. Second, John is slang for toilet. That’s okay for little Jonathan, who was named after some dude who once swabbed the deck on the Mayflower, but why would you go out of your way to name your baby girl after something that we flush poop down? John is nice, but let's be real, it works better for a boy than it does a girl.
6 Sue for a Boy
Fans of Johnny Cash are all over this list. Yes, A Boy Named Sue is a great song. It was written by Shel Silverstein and was a huge hit for Johnny Cash. However, it would behoove parents to listen to the words of the song. All the words: not just one or two verses and a chorus. Pay special attention to the end, where Cash sings, “And if I ever have a son, I think I'm gonna name him…Bill or George! Anything but Sue! I still hate that name!” Take it from the man in black, and name your son George or Bill, two names that are not on this list. We think even Johnny Cash would agree that if you're a fan of the song, you're better off naming your kid Shel over Sue. Sue is like the ugly cousin of Susie, who is the ugly sister of Suzanne. So let's not and say we did.
5 Jameson, Absolut, Cosmo or Any Other Liquor Related Name
Pregnant women are adorable. It’s especially cute how they say things like “I was bombed on Harvey Wallbangers when I conceived, so I’m going to name the baby Galliano.” So cute. So funny. However, if they actually go through with this prego-brain-fueled scheme it suddenly becomes way, way, way less funny and cute. How are you going to have the “binge drinking is bad” talk with little Ponykeg Smith? Or what about when the kid is driving and gets pulled over. “Have you been drinking, sir?” “No.” “What’s your name?” “Jackandcoke.” The kid will hold a world record for false DUI charges before he turns twenty. We know, the ladies of Sex In The City, would probably disagree with this one. But no girl named Cosmo ever made it out of college alive and without a baby. Oh god, what would a girl named Cosmo, name her baby? That's for another article.
Good God, no! Why would anyone name their kid Judas? That name has been stricken from the list of appropriate baby names since 33 AD. It’s bad enough that the name has become a synonym for betrayal, but it’s also a wildly inappropriate name for any child with even a small connection to religion. How are they going to explain to future Sunday school teachers that they were named after the guy who gave Jesus Christ a royal screw job for a handful of silver coins? It’s almost as bad as naming him Pontius. Both of those names are best reserved for Punk Bands and Urban Decay nail polish colors. Even Lady Gaga would advise against this one.
This is an Italian name that is pronounced Oo-go and means intelligent, but still, upon first view, every schoolmate, teacher, principal, DMV employee, prospective employer and traffic cop is going to, without fail, pronounce it as Uggo, which means ugly. Every friend that little Ugo has in college will make a point of pronouncing it Uggo because college friends always think they are hilarious, even when they are not. Life with schoolmates and traffic cops is tough enough. Why would you give the schoolyard bullies and future so-called friends any more fuel for the fire?
If you must, we'd like to offer a suggestion. Name the baby Hugo, after French author Victor Hugo, the prolific writer responsible for The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Misérables and just hope the nickname Uggo doesn't stick.
Keeping your little Evel Knievel safe is difficult enough as it is without giving them permission to be daring as part of their birthright. It’s not something you can take back. You can’t yell at your three-year old to be careful as she climbs to the top of a rusty playground structure over a spurious landing platform. She will merely respond with “I will never be careful so long as my name is Danger.” Well…she’s three. She probably won’t say that. She’ll probably do something more age-appropriate, like mooning you, but you’ll know what those cheeks mean. They mean “you are a hypocrite, mom!” And the cheeks are right. From the age of eighteen months to about four and a half, children spend the majority of their day actively trying to kill themselves. Don’t give them the ammunition.
1 Devil, Demon or Beelzebub
It is no longer enough for Goth parents to sort of name their spawn (which is what Goths call babies because they’re Goths) after Satan. They used to think it was cool to name them Damien or Damon or even after a lesser demon, such as Abyzou the female demon of miscarriages and infant mortality from Jewish mythology, which is really not cool. What pregnant woman is going to be brave enough to look her OB in the eye and say, we’re naming her after the bringer of stillbirth? It gets worse. Now, it’s becoming a thing to throw superstition to the wind and just name your own child after the root of all evil. Sure it’s all cute and Gothy now, like Robert Smith’s make-up in the 80s, but when the kid grows up it’s just going to be sad and weird, like Robert Smith’s make-up now. Especially if little Devil McGee wants to get a job in finance…or anything. So, can we at last all agree that The Omen should be compulsory viewing for all prospective parents?