I really love Cohen, but I don't want to offend people...

I really love the name [name]Cohen[/name], which is a big deal in itself because I REALLY struggle to find boy names I love. I recentely asked why this name is offensive (THANK YOU for those that responded btw, it really helped) so I somewhat have an understanding of the name. I’ve considered spelling it [name]Coen[/name], which would then honor my [name]German[/name] heritage, but I don’t really care for that spelling. But maybe if I used it, I would learn to love the spelling? After all, it’s the sound of the name I love.

I would love to hear some advice as to what you guys think I should do…just go with [name]Cohen[/name] and not worry about it? Use [name]Coen[/name] and hope that I someday fall in love with the spelling? Or just nix the name and look for something new?

I’m probably going to be in the minority here but I say use what name you love, if you love [name]Cohen[/name] then so be it. There are other [name]Cohen[/name]'s being born so your [name]Cohen[/name] wouldn’t be the only one in the world. If I’m being ignorant then I do apologise but I think there are far worse names you could choose!

Also, you wouldn’t want to live with a life time of name regret? If he feels and looks like a [name]Cohen[/name] then that’s that I wouldn’t search for a new name.

I personally like [name]Cohen[/name], also. I guess [name]Coen[/name] would work. Its only missing one letter. Also, what about just [name]Owen[/name]. Sounds exactly the same, just without the c.

Possible offensiveness aside, I actually prefer [name]Coen[/name]. I like the meaning better, and the spelling. I always have problems with words that have silent, or almost silent letters in them. Like [name]Malcolm[/name]. I always want to partially say the last L. I know, I’m weird, but it makes me a little crazy. That is how I am with [name]Cohen[/name]. [name]Do[/name] you pronounce the H, or leave it silent, or sort of pronounce it?? It’s anarchy, I tell you :wink: Ha ha, sorry for that. I just feel like [name]Coen[/name] reads a little easier, plus, you avoid any possible problems that you or your son might have if his name is seen as offensive to others.

I wouldn’t use it. Now that you know the meaning, would you really want to name your son that? If it is the sound you like, I’d go with [name]Owen[/name] as allyfally mentioned. [name]Coen[/name] can also be pronounced “coon” so I wouldn’t use that either.

I love [name]Cohen[/name], too, actually. I think part of my love for it is because it feels unusable to me–otherwise I’m not sure I would love it so much. It has such a cool sound I love it just as it is… but my best friend and her whole family are Jewish, and I know it is highly offensive to them and pretty much all the Jews they know. I just respect them too much (and the history of Jews) to use it despite my knowledge. I think you could use something like [name]Coen[/name], Cowan, etc., which have similar sounds but not the same strong connotations for Jews, but I agree they lose something in translation.

I think @sheflieswithherownwings brings up a great point about regret–for her, it would be regret not using a name she loves. For me, I couldn’t even consider it because if I used it, I would be absolutely full of regret for using something that is so offensive to so many people, and I doubt I could live with myself, since I know how meaningful [name]Cohen[/name] is to Jews. Which regret would it be for you? I think that would be your answer.

I think there are names like this for every culture… I mean, I can’t imagine considering [name]Trinity[/name] or [name]Messiah[/name] for a child, because those are just so completely sacrilegious to me, as a [name]Christian[/name]. I’m sure there are other names that other religions would feel are highly offensive to their beliefs. I try to remember that the people choosing these names have a reason for doing so and 99% of the time it’s not to offend–they just really like the name, or the name is meaningful to them. It sounds like that’s how some Jews see [name]Cohen[/name], from what I’ve heard, but about half of the Jewish population seems to be highly offended by it, so that’s something I just couldn’t deal with. I do absolutely love it, though.

Good luck!

Yeah, I completely agree with @Ashthedreamer there, completely depends how you feel. I mean I have no connections with the Jewish community and I don’t know one Jewish person, obviously that isn’t to say I won’t come across any Jewish people in my life. I don’t think I’d feel guilty for using a name I love, obviously if you would feel guilty then it isn’t the name for you!

whit32- in English the ‘h’ is silent, but in Hebrew (and to many Jews in [name]America[/name]) it’s pronounced co-HAIN.

Personally, even as a person with Jewish heritage, I would stay away from this name as it is a last name for priests. I would equate it to someone naming their child [name]Mohammed[/name] purely because of the way it sounds, not considering it’s political implications.
It’s a bit of a downer, I know, but it’s just improper.

Well, my opinion is that you will come into contact with some Jewish people, and are worried about it being offensive, then go with the sound you love and the spelling [name]Coen[/name]. Or a similar name like [name]Owen[/name]. If you don’t care about offending anyone, then go with [name]Cohen[/name].

Personally, I wouldn’t use a name that I knew would be obviously offensive to a huge group of people. I wouldn’t name a child [name]Messiah[/name] as that would offend the Christians, I wouldn’t name my son [name]Rabi[/name] (I think that’s how it’s spelled) or [name]Cohen[/name] so I wouldn’t offend the Jews, I don’t want to meet someone with a son named Buddha as I find that extremely disrespectful to myself and my religion and what Buddha stood for. You get what I’m saying. It’s your decision, but theres my take for you.

I 100% agree. If you love it, I say use it. I don’t really think it’s an “issue” unless you live in a Jewish community or something.

To all the people who keep saying…“I don’t know why anyone would find this offensive!”
…Think if you met someone with a baby named [name]Jesus[/name] or pope and they said…oh I just like the way it sounds! You might not be offend but it would rub you the wrong way.

I was researching Irish names and I came across… Cowen , Cowan and Cowyn… maybe an alternative… same pronunciation… different meaning and an origin you can explain!

heres the link to the page I found it on!


As a Jew, I find the tenor of this post offensive, let alone the use of the name [name]Cohen[/name] as a first name. Oh, you’ll never know any Jews, so it’s okay, and if it offends them, so what?

Whatever. I still don’t understand what’s wrong with Cohan, same pronounciation, Irish surname, nobody’s offended, but hey, I’m a minority, so who cares, right?

Hurrah for ignorance and cultural appropriation, am I right?

When would it offend anyone? Well you’ve offended several people in this thread so I don’t imagine its as slim a possibility as you attempt to imply. I guess if you’re gleefully planning a very insular lifestyle for your kid with no interaction with other cultures and no time on the internet they could indeed manage to navigate life without ever meeting a Jewish person… hooray?

If it is just like Cooper, use Cooper? Seems an easy fix.

The OP seems open-minded and not interested in offending/antagonizing people. So I don’t have a problem with the OP. One can like the sound of a name while realizing it comes with a lot of cultural baggage or is not good in real life for a real kid.

P.S. Jews aren’t only found in bagel shops. I am right here. Being offended. Does that undercut your “oh you’ll never meet one so who cares about their silly beliefs” argument?

If there’s a boy named [name]Cohen[/name] in a forest and a Jew’s not around to hear it, does it cause offence?

As someone who considers herself culturally Jewish, even though I don’t practice the religion, I do find the name to be somewhat offensive. What I find more offensive is the tone of certain replies in this thread, such as pepperingram’s comment “If you’re not Jewish, and you’re unlikely to mix with Jewish people… (ad nauseam)”. I could just as easily tell a Jewish mother-to-be that it’s perfectly acceptable to name her daughter Blessed Virgin [name]Mary[/name], since she’ll never mix with Christians, but I bet you’d be offended, folks!

Maybe you live in an area where there are few Jews, and have none in your social circle… but who’s to say that will be true of your son? [name]Say[/name] he moves to [name]Brooklyn[/name]? I assure you he’ll meet plenty of us, and a fair number will be disturbed by his name. OP, you seem honest and open and I don’t want to attack you. However, I have no problem calling out the other ignoramuses (ignorami?) in this thread.

Good luck, whatever you decide! :slight_smile:

Besides being offensive to Jews, it just seems ignorant to name your baby [name]Cohen[/name]. If I met a boy named [name]Cohen[/name], I’d probably feel sorry for him and think his parents didn’t put a lot of care or respect into his name. That boy will have to carry that name with him his whole life. There are so many other options out there. Why choose something controversial?

Personally I think if you like it screw everyone else :slight_smile: So what it means priest in Hebrew w/e [name]Brynn[/name] means hill. [name]Paula[/name] means small. [name]Cecily[/name] means blind. I don’t think you should associate a meaning to a name unless it was actually offensive or rascist, I wouldn’t personally use [name]Adolph[/name]/[name]Adolf[/name] for it’s obvious association with a certain public figure… [name]Adolf[/name] I can see why it could offend the same group of people, but [name]Cohen[/name]?? Meh. [name]Tish[/name]-tosh. I like it, it gets a thumbs up from me. I don’t like the [name]Coen[/name] spelling, if its [name]Cohen[/name] you like go with it!! :smiley: x

miloowen and stripedsocks already said it better than I could. After actually reading all the posts and taking time to do just a few web searches to enlighten myself, I can see how it would be offensive. Simple as that and I am not sure where there is room for debate. I find the tone of this thread really odd and unexpectedly cold as well and I am sorry about that.

I really don’t get how it even is offensive. If someone wants to call their child [name]Jesus[/name], go for it. I think it’s weird, but I don’t feel offended as a [name]Christian[/name]. I mean how can a name offend a religion? Especially when it’s meaning is a positive one in that religion. Some people say the name [name]Ariana[/name] is offensive because of the word “arian”. I have a [name]German[/name] friend who named her child [name]Ariana[/name] because she liked the name and both grandparents can pronounce it. She didn’t even think about the meaning. Is that offensive? I don’t think so.

Still I wouldn’t use [name]Cohen[/name], Cohan is a nice alternative. I wouldn’t want my child to have a name that a group of people sees as “bad” or whatever.

I don’t really get how [name]Coen[/name] would be a link to your [name]German[/name] heritage, it’s not [name]German[/name]. It has dutch roots I think.