Are celebrities to blame for the whacky baby-naming trend? When Gwyneth Paltrow named her daughter Apple, the world reacted with, “You called your child what?” Nicole Richie followed suit by naming her second-born after a common variety of garden bird and Kim Kardashian caused a stir when she named her daughter North West.
But it could be worse, so much worse. Parents are taking creative baby names to new extremes, so much so that authorities have had to create a list of names you cannot call your child. Before you opt for a crazy name for your newborn, check to make sure it’s not on the banned baby names list.
Unusually long baby names
You couldn’t be blamed for thinking this boy’s parents had fallen asleep on a keyboard. Swedish parents had the 43-character name picked out for their son as a protest against the naming laws in Sweden. Pronounced Albin (not phonetically), the parents claimed the name meant a “pregnant, expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation.” The court rejected the name, and a second attempt to name the child “A” was also refused.
Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii
In 2008, a New Zealand couple found themselves in front of a court for failing to register the birth of their daughter Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii. They were told the courts would be granted temporary custody of their 9-year old until they came up with a suitable name for her. The judge believed the name they had chosen set the child up with a social disability. Strangely enough, Number 16 Bus Shelter was allowed and so were a pair of twins named Benson and Hedges.
Symbol baby names
In China, the symbol which we have all come to know as part of our email addresses is pronounced “ai-ta” and is believed to be very similar to the Chinese word for “love him”. However, Chinese authorities gave it the big thumbs down.
In the tradition of the flamboyant musician Prince — who changed his name to a symbol no-one could pronounce — parents have tried to get the following baby names approved, yet failed.
- . (period)
- * (asterisk)
- / (slash)
- Numbers or names containing numbers — for example: 4Real, V8 or 89
- Roman numerals such as III, II or V
- Single letters like E or T or J
- Abbreviations such as H-Q, A.J or MC
Banned baby names with derogatory meanings
In Denmark, a couple tried to name their child “Anus.” He or she probably would have ended up being the butt of all jokes.
In Bengali, “Anal” means fire, but in the Western world, it’s a word guaranteed to make even your grandmother blush, which is why the Kiwi parents who wanted to go this route ended up getting the thumbs down from the Department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
Japanese parents were outraged when their choice of name for their son was deemed unsuitable. In English, the translation is “devil” or “demon”. The story made national news and the father admitted to wanting to call the next child Emperor or Explosion.
Sex Fruit is another baby name rejected by government officials in New Zealand because it was deemed offensive. We can just imagine the poor child offering introductions at school, announcing, “My name is Sex Fruit but you can call me Sex for short.”
Other names which translate badly in English:
- Chow Tow means is Cantonese for “smelly head”.
- Sor Chai is Cantonese for “insane”.
- Fanny was banned in Portugal.
Satan, Lucifer and Prince of Darkness are also banned for obvious reasons.
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Banned title baby names
While in America, baby-naming seems a little more liberal, names that are titles are not allowed. A Tennessee judge recently ruled that parents of a 7-month old baby named Messiah change his name to Martin. Other titles baby names disallowed are:
- Justice, Justus and Juztice
Other banned baby names
- Metallica, IKEA, Superman and Veranda (Sweden)
- Woodstock, Stompie, Miatt and Grammophon (Germany)
- Adolf Hitler (USA)
- Baer — meaning “light breeze” (Iceland)
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In Australia, there are simple rules for naming your baby set out by Births, Deaths and Marriages Departments.
Proposed names will not be registered if they:
- Are obscene or offensive
- Could not practicably be established by repute or usage because it is unreasonably long
- Could not practicably be established by repute or usage because it consists of symbols without phonetic significance
- Could not practicably be established by repute or usage for some other reason
- Are contrary to the public interest for some other reason
- Include diacritical marks (names must be in English alphabetical characters)
- Include brackets