Bad Baby Name

6 Signs You’re Headed for a Bad Baby Name…

Mom Jeanine
January 13, 2012


Good Question, hot topic, Jeanine Edwards

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I wasn’t one of those expectant moms who labored over a baby name. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wrote down two baby names I liked–one for a boy, one for a girl. Once I found out I was having a girl, the decision was made. I stuck to that original name and never looked back.

Not everyone is like that, however, and that’s why there are entire sections of bookstores and websites dedicated entirely to choosing the perfect baby name. But you know what? I tend to think the more you grapple with a decision, the more complicated you’re going to make the answer. And I think this is especially true for baby names.

I can understand if you’re going back and forth between two names, but then to overanalyze how to spell it or how it will look on paper… Seriously? I get that your kid will have this for the rest of his/her life, but it’s not rocket science.

Given some of the names I’ve seen popping up recently, I thought I’d offer some helpful tips to all you moms struggling to find the perfect baby name. If you find yourself considering names that fall into one of the following categories, slowly back away. You’re headed for a bad baby name…

1. It has punctuation in it. There’s really no reason for your kid’s name to have an apostrophe in it. Same goes for periods, commas and hyphens. You’re definitely overcomplicating things and should probably just pick something simple like Ann.

2. It’s a food. This also include food brands. Just because you love Pepsi or craved apples all throughout your pregnancy doesn’t mean it’s a sign that you’ve come across the perfect baby name. It should go without saying, but alcoholic beverages are also a no-no. Yes, chardonnay may very well be the reason you ended up pregnant, but your daughter doesn’t need to be reminded of this every time someone says her name.

3. It’s something spelled backwards. Or it’s just spelled incorrectly. I do not get the fascination with naming kids Nevaeh–that’s heaven spelled backwards. It’s hard to pronounce and if you spell something backwards, doesn’t it lose its significance? Same goes for trying to get creative with the spelling of common names. If you like the name Kayla, there’s no need to add extra letters or replace the ones that are already there. Just name your baby Kayla.

4. It was also the name of a genocidal and/or homocidal maniac. I’m sorry if you genuinely like the name Adolf or Osama or Saddam, but you just can’t name your kid that.

5. It sets the bar too high for your kid. I’m sure you’re coming from a good place, but naming your kid Chastity or Saint or even Angel is just a recipe for disaster. What kid wants to live up to that his/her whole life?

6. It’s the name of your favorite reality TV star. Just because she “won” that last fight on Mob Wives or she dresses the best on Bad Girls Club does not mean you should name your kid after her. And FYI, both Chloe and Courtney start with “C”–refer to #3.

What do you think? Any other signs of a bad baby name? How did you choose your baby name? Share in the comments.

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  • Kathy
    January 13, 2012

  • Every “Kathy” out there is approximately the same age; other generations had “Shirley” and now “Jayden” and “Bella.” It may be a hot name now, but it will likely always date your child — and prove that you watched too many movies.

  • Roxy
    January 13, 2012

  • i’m sorry but I disagree with #4. Sure we know those names as killers, but some of those names are traditional and widespread in the middle east.

    If people are too ignorant to appreciate culture differences, they should not be making recommendations on baby names.

  • Jessica
    January 13, 2012

  • #3 is such a popular one right now that it drives me crazy. Giving an unusual spelling doesn’t make it a more original name because it’s still pronounced the same way! Emily is Emmalee is Emellie. There is no difference between those names other than two of those children having the annoyance of having to painstakingly spell out their names for everything for the rest of their lives. Even family members will spell it wrong on every gift, letter, or card. They will call you up around Christmas to ask, “How is it spelled again?” and then STILL spell it wrong despite you spelling it for them three times. Even writing it out doesn’t help. I know this from experience. So do yourself and your child a favor and simplify things by going with the most common spelling. There is too much chaos in the world. Simple is good.

  • Jessica
    January 13, 2012

  • Roxy, I don’t care how much a name like Saddam is a part of one’s culture. You have to take the child’s environment into consideration.

    Let’s say that someone’s father was named Saddam and they want to name their son after him. Why not use their father’s middle or last name instead? Or use “Saddam” as the middle name. There are many naming options that still honor tradition without causing problems for one’s child.

    However, there are areas in America with large populations of certain cultures so a first name like “Saddam” may blend in. There is still the caution though that if/when the child moves to another location they will deal with prejudice.

    Those with Middle Eastern roots aren’t alone. Korean Americans have to be careful with the traditional names they choose for their children as well. Some Korean names look or sound like negative English words. (ie. Dong and Suk, heaven forbid combining the two)

    I’m glad that America is such a diverse country. People should be proud of their heritage and instill that in their children. I think it’s a shame when parents try too hard to make their children fit in and thus lose sight of their own culture. It really is a balancing act.

  • elyssa
    January 13, 2012

  • Any decision that is agonized over is likely going to seem like it under-achieves. There are “satisficers” and “maximizers.” The author is a satisficer, and that’s OK. But it’s tough to get a maximizer to change.

    I don’t mind an extra letter or one or two changes it it makes it obvious how to pronounce it, but when people go crazee with changuz, then it maykes it hardd for the resst of uss.

    Re: #5. In my city, a girl named “Angel” gave a cop a hard time after he stopped her for jaywalking, she began to resist arrest and someone reached for the cop’s gun. He slugged her and that quieted her and everyone else down. She ended up apologizing to him, so I guess she is indeed an angel.

  • Adriane
    November 28, 2012

  • Worst of them all are names that someone clearly just made up. If you need examples of this, just look to the NFL and the NBA. Think about it… if Plaxico and Jaquizz and D’Qualeon et al hadn’t turned out to be really, really good at sports, where do you honestly think they would be right now???

    Anything that makes your look like you and/or your significant other are illiterate is going to doom your kid for life. If you doubt this, just check out the book Freakonomics, where studies were done specifically about names as the children grew into adults and tried to enter the work world. Names that appear uneducated automatically associate a person with lesser intelligence and lower socioeconomic status- not to mention make it hard for people to take them seriously socially as well.

    Finally, when it comes to spellings, RULES OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE DO ACTUALLY APPLY. You can’t spell it Kerin and expect people to say Corrinne, or to the extreme, L-A and call it “LeDASHa.” Jhon instead of John or Jon is just plain stupid and makes you look dyslexic. And finally on spellings, phonetic options look like the parents were on a first grade reading level and just sounded it out. Sean and Duane are not Shawn or Dwayne, for chrissake.