I’m sure we all know some very nice Karens, regardless of what their name has come to stand for. The same goes for Donald, for that matter. But we’d be very surprised to hear any of our friends choose those as a baby name in the years to come. The fact is, names have both meanings and connotations, with the latter being harder to avoid if someone with that name has become truly infamous. That’s why, with all due respect to the good folks we know who carry this burden, we decided to give you a cheatsheet for the baby names that should probable be canceled for at least another decade or two.
(By the way, if you’re bummed about any one of the names that follow, click them to get to their entries in our Baby Names database, where you’ll find lists of similar names and alternatives to use.)
Karen: As we’ve already discussed, it was mostly by chance that the name Karen became a stand-in for a late-middle-age woman who needs to speak to the manager. These white ladies caught on camera showing off their racial bias, anti-mask stances, or what have you, could easily have had any other of the wildly popular names of that generation.
“It could’ve been, Nancy; it could have been Betty,” Jennifer Moss, co-founder of BabyNames.com told SheKnows earlier this year. “It’s that particular age group and ethnicity that it’s identified with. It goes to show that we do have preconceived notions of certain names.”
The name Karen has dropped more than 400 places in the past 10 years (#230 in 2009 to #660 in 2019) according to the Social Security Administration’s latest baby name data. With Karen incidents and memes at an all-time high in 2020, that name probably still has much further to drop.
Donald: This was a very popular name a century ago, and we loved it when it belonged to the Disney Duck and Don Draper. Alas, as he’s done to so many things, Donald Trump has laid claim to the moniker, and we will not think of it in the same way for a long, long time to come. In 2019, Donald was at its lowest point since 1900 (when the SSA began collecting this data) at #553.
Chad: Again, we have known some decent Chads in our time — and some truly great ones if we can count Chadwick Boseman among them. But because of the number of white men in their 40s bearing this name (it peaked at #29 in 1971), it easily became the name of a certain type of privileged, popped-collar, loafer-wearing guy who will sue you just as soon as look in your general direction. See this Instagram account for a more humorous illustration. Chad has been dropping in name popularity very steadily for the last four-plus decades and sits now at #894.
Brock: This name never broke the top 200, but how anyone could give this name to their baby boy after Brock Turner’s rape trial in 2016 is beyond us.
Jeffrey: This is such a hard one to list, as most of us have loved, admired, or befriended many a Jeff in our lives. But what Jeffrey Dahmer couldn’t do, Jeffrey Epstein may have finally accomplished in ending his name for at least several years. The name dropped more than 30 places from 331 in 2018 to 364 in 2019. Toobin and Bezos probably aren’t helping matters, either, in 2020.
Lori and Felicity: Loughlin and Huffman, the notorious actors-turned-college admissions scandal perps, are nowhere near as bad in our minds as the previous guys we’ve mentioned, but we think those names will be off expecting parents’ fave lists for a while. Lori hasn’t been on the top 1000 list since 2001 anyway, but Felicity surged after the WB show premiered in 1999 and has comfortably sat in the 300s for a while.
Harvey: People must have some strong family connections to this name, because even after Ronan Farrow and the #MeToo movement took down Harvey Weinstein, it is still #404.
Alexa: Have you ever asked a person named Alexa how they feel about Amazon? Sure, the technology will likely have a different name by the time your kids are older, but in the meantime, you will be accidentally playing music and hearing the day’s weather all the damn day if you name your baby Alexa right now. After peaking at #32 in 2015, it’s down to #139 right now.
Melania: Last, but not least, we just wanted to mention that Melania’s only appearance in the top 1000 names in this country was a blip at 933 in 2017. The question is, do u care?
These celebrities may have the right idea in choosing names few others will.