If you have an unusual name, would you give your child one?

I was thinking recently and to anyone with unusual name, or anyone who knows somebody with an unusual name, or just if you have any ideas about this: if you had a unique name, would you be more or less likely to give your child one (or the same)?

I thought at first you would be more likely because you’ve had exposure to “weird” or “out there” names before so it isn’t as unusual, sort of like you’ve built up some immunity and therefore might choose more eccentric names.

Then, I thought that maybe you wouldn’t, because if you had a truly strange name then you wouldn’t want to bestow the same strangeness on to your child.

Perhaps, your name wouldn’t affect what you name your child. Maybe you would be impartial even if you had a strange name.

So, what are your thoughts on this? :slight_smile:

I have a rather common name, so I can’t attest to your original question, however I can say that I wouldn’t want to use a name that is very common. I didn’t like being one of three [name]Haley[/name]'s in my class. I always envied girls that had pretty unusual names. I would draw a line at names that no one knows how to pronounce or spell and I think there are some names that just don’t translate cross cultures, so I would avoid those. For the most part I think I would rather name my child something that won’t require them to tack an initial on the end of their name to differentiate them from other people.

I have a common name with an uncommon pronunciation. I would give my child an uncommon name that is really, really easy to pronounce.

When I was born my name was unusual, now it has gained in popularity, more so for boys than girls, which annoys me. I am a [name]Rowan[/name], and I always liked having a name that was unusual but easily pronounced. I think I would try to follow the same sort of trend as with my name, relatively unheard of but not unpronounceable, as I would much prefer my child to be the only one in their class to have their given name so they wouldn’t have to resort to a nickname, middle or having an initial tacked on to their name for their school career. My brother was given a name that was the most popular name the year of his birth and was forever known by his surname, which isn’t something I would want really.

This is a point on which my close friend and I always differ, she has a name that is very unique, even hard to google or research by even nameberry standards. I can’t even post what it is here and feel safe that she wouldn’t find this post by just googling her name. Anyway, she wants to give her children all very common names, her favorites are [name]Noah[/name] and [name]Charlotte[/name] because of the fact that her name is so unusual. It always gets mispronounced, it has apparently caused nothing but problems for her in her life. [name]Every[/name] time I bring up an uncommon name, I always get aghast looks signaling the age old, “Why would you do that?!” (read uncommon like [name]Lavender[/name], not ‘uncommon’ like Alysyanya) I on the other hand, was a [name]Kimberly[/name], born in the 80’s, with about a million other Kimberlys in the past 4 decades, so I know more Kims than I can count, and I don’t want my children having the same experience.

I was actually just pondering this fact the other day, how she, with an unusual name wants her kids to have very common names, and how I, with a very common name, want my kids to have unique names…

My name is very unusual and has a weird pronounciation. It’s been a pain and I cannot stand it. It’s given me grief for years and I desperately want to change it. However, I don’t think I would give my kid a common name. The only exception are classic names that have a lot of nicknames, like [name]Elizabeth[/name] or [name]Alexander[/name].
But I’m not going to give my child a totally out there name. Since I’m a writer, I save all of my more unique favorites (such as [name]Alethea[/name], [name]Ariadne[/name] and [name]Saskia[/name]) for novels. But honestly, I would name a girl [name]Eliza[/name], [name]Cordelia[/name] or [name]Lucy[/name] and a boy [name]Cato[/name], [name]Asa[/name] or [name]Orion[/name].

[name]Zelia[/name] is a very unusual name here in Denmark, and it’s always been mispronounced and misspelled (getting autographs was absolute hell, they never spelled my name right, and how much fun is that?). [name]Ever[/name] since I was little, I’ve sworn to give my future children reasonable names that aren’t too unusual or weird. I think that parents who decide to give their children super odd names are limiting their children more than they do good. I often hear that “it’s good with a unique name because that makes him/her feel more special and one-of-a-kind”, and yes, to some extinct I understand that, but that doesn’t go for everyone, for some it’s just a drag. It also limit the child in the way that a [name]Judge[/name] [name]Pilot[/name] [name]Fox[/name] [name]Watson[/name] or a President [name]Saffron[/name] Tinkerbell [name]Anderson[/name] sounds more like a joke than anything else - and it don’t even have to be that far-fetched, just nicknames or last names being used as first names can sound silly with a highly acclaimed profession attached to it. And if I was ever to name my child something out of the ordinary (say [name]Amaury[/name] which isn’t really a weird name in [name]France[/name], but is uncommon in English speaking countries), I’d make sure give him/her a normal middle name that he/she could go my if he/she was bothered by it.

I have an uncommon spelling of a medium common name ([name]Kelli[/name]). While I’ve grown to love it, most of my life I’ve been correcting the spelling of my name and I’d only go with standard spellings for names for my children. My husband was one of 3 people with the same last name/first name combo in his high school, so he’s against the super common names based on his experience.

I have a very unusual name - never in the Top Thousand under even its most popular spelling - and then spelt differently into the bargain.

I do not buy into the whole “but a weird name will ruin their life forever” hysteria I see on some name-boards where its like the worst thing that can ever happen apparently - but I like if it’s “semi-straightforward.”

I don’t really get the “but now its in the top thousand so its toooooo popular and I can never ever use it even though I love it…!” thing I sometimes see, but I don’t really get “how can you ask a boy to grow up with a weird name!!!” either.

Personally prefer striking a balance of [name]Rosemary[/name]/[name]Hazel[/name] sorts of names where people aren’t completely shocked but they’re not Top 20. There are some intensely popular names I like though and I wouldn’t strike them off just for being popular.

I will go off the Top 1000 for some ethnic names I particularly love but only with their standard spelling.

What I [name]WILL[/name] say is probably caused by my childhood is I like if sibsets are either roughly equally weird - [name]Saoirse[/name], [name]Xanthe[/name], [name]Tamar[/name] - or roughly equally popular - [name]Emily[/name], [name]Caitlin[/name], [name]Lily[/name]. I like ALL SIX of those names but I personally not name one kid out of column A and one out of column B. (For FNs) I know you can’t forsee everything, but at least take a glance at the Social Security lists.

I call this Weirdness Level and its more of a thing to me than matching languages or themes.

Unusual in general? Maybe. Unusual for someone of my cultural/ethnic/lifestyle background? Not a chance. For example, as lovely as some of the more Celtic names sound to me, (not like [name]Dylan[/name] or [name]Caitlin[/name], but ones that make you think, “Yeah, definitely Irish.” Or something along those lines) they just aren’t going to work. I can’t imagine having a little girl with dark hair and tan-like skin named [name]Merida[/name] or [name]Gwendolyn[/name], for instance.

My name is more common and is currently in the top 20, but wasn’t at the time I was born in the 80’s. Despite this, I didn’t have a problem with being lost in a crowd of other girls with my name. I hear it more and more nowadays as I’m out and about: at parks, malls, grocery stores… you get the idea. So, I definitely want to go with a name that isn’t top 50 or so, but at the same time isn’t going to prompt “What were you thinking!?” type comments.

Have a close friend named [name]Destiny[/name]. She hates it. She has also a very weird word name as a middle. Hates that too. Laments she doesn’t have a “normal” middle to go by. But she did the same thing to all her 4 kids but one. Ha! She has one son with a normal first (named him [name]Aiden[/name] but this was 12 years ago) and he goes by an odd Biblical middle - his choice. He wanted to fit in with his sibs, all of whom have very odd firsts and middles.

Idk why she did the same thing to her kids that she hates so much. But hey - to each his own.

I have a fairly unusual first I dislike but I’ve gone by middle since birth. I often wished I had a more unusual go-by but I still like my common name ok. I don’t have kids but I doubt I’ll give them crazy names. I think options are good. I like the idea of a classic first with at least one solid nickname option and a more unusual middle.

It’s funny. I have a core-classic name which I like very much. I never suffered an identity crisis, even though I know several others with the name. I never went through a period of adolescent moaning where I wanted something more special. And yet, I’ve gravitated towards much more uncommon names; largely because they’re deeply rooted, and because namesakes are quite important to me.

My husband despises his name. It’s about 130 years out of date (the last time it appeared in the US top 1000 was in the 1880s; it has not even appeared in the top 5000 in the last 100 years). It’s an [name]Ellis[/name] Island mistake-- his parents were immigrants who didn’t quite understand all the subtleties, and thought they were anglicizing a very, very old & creaky Arabic name [even in the MIddle [name]East[/name] his name raises eyebrows-- kind of the equivalent of Caractacus or something]. Here it’s actually straightforward to spell and pronounce, but it is classically, comically, Jewish. Like think [name]Herschel[/name] or something. He is chronically mistaken for a Jewish person. So he feels very strongly about giving a name that sends the right cultural signals. And, like most men, he’d rather err on the side of popularity than of oddness.

I don’t know if my name is considered unusual–it’s top 1000, but I’ve only ever met one other person with the same name. And people ask me how to spell it all the time, which surprises me (really? You can’t spell “[name]Gwen[/name]?”)

Anyway, I’ll definitely use uncommon names for my children, possibly even bizarre ones. What matters most to me is that a name sound like the name of a person, rather than the name of an object, an animal, or a character in a six-year-old’s story. I also tend to prefer gender-specific names, at least in the first name spot.

my best friend has an incredibly unusual name, a family name, that’s a french creole type-name. Think: lots of unprounced letters.

She gave her children classic and semi-popular names, even though she loves her unique name.

Not sure why.

YES. I have a VERY unusual name, not even in the top 9000 and I love it. All of my future kids’ names are out of the top 1000, but are nowhere near as uncommon as mine.

As for my family, my parents have really common names, my brother is named after my father and my other brother has a name that doesn’t even registered. The last time it was used was in 2008 and only five babies had that name (and no, it isn’t atrocious, it is legit!).

For my generation, I have a very common name, but with an uncommon spelling (not a kre8tive spelling just an alternative). Almost no one could ever get my spelling right, even my relatives had trouble. But honestly that never bothered me as much as how common my name was and I also hated that it had a terrible meaning. It took me years to come around and start loving my name, but what really helped me begin to love it was it’s unusual spelling. That was the only part of my name that I deemed interesting.

Fortunately I’ve grown to love my name, but I won’t be giving any of my children common names. They don’t have to be unheard of or insanely rare, but nothing too main stream. Also all my choices must have a decent meaning or are family/historical names. I don’t mind using alternate spellings, but only if the name is easy to pronounce and vice versa (common spelling for names that are hard to pronounce).

I have a very common name, think top 3 for at least two decades. It’s less common now, but still by no means unusual. Growing up I always had at least 3 or 4 other girls by this name in my grade at school. I didn’t like having a name so common, but I did and do like that–for the most part–people know how to spell it. Whenever I meet a new person and introduce myself, 90% of the time they go, “Oh! I have a niece/aunt/friend/sister/grandmother/sister-in-law/cousin/etc.” named that!" Whenever someone says that to you and you have a common name, it’s really awkward because you want to say, “Really? Because I know 20 people with my name. Must be a coincidence.”

Having such a common name, I would love to name my children something not as common, yet still heard of, pronounceable, and easily spellable.

My mother has a not-terribly-common name, but by no means unheard of. She said she always hated it growing up and still does now because no one can spell it right and people fumble the pronunciation. In my opinion, I don’t think that so many people should mess it up because it truly isn’t that uncommon, but I’m probably biased since I have known my mother my whole life. I think her frustration with her name led her to pick more common names for me and my sister.

I think my name was in the top 50 the year I was born and I’ve come across a few in my age bracket, but we’re not EVERYWHERE (like [name]Jennifer[/name] - my name is [name]Cassandra[/name]) but I do come across another one every now and then. My sons name is pretty common, though I wish it was less so. I have more uncommon / rare names chosen for down the line.

My name is unusual but easy to pronounce. And I plan to give my children the same.

Well, to address the “would you do to your kids what was done to you” portion of the question, no, I would not. I was given a cross-gender name that has been a never-ending source of frustration and hassle, and when I was younger, tears. So I gravitate towards very gender-specific sounding names, and even the word names that I’m drawn towards for the middle slot are sort of organized into rugged vs soft.

As far as having an unusual name, I’ve gone by Sessha for almost ten years now. The nickname attached itself to me via a series of misunderstandings (it’s actually an archaic Japanese personal pronoun!) but once it stuck, I just embraced it. Now it’s on my name card at work and everything, only my immediate family still call me by my legal name. And as strange as it is, and as difficult as it is to pronounce (I’m most often called [name]Sasha[/name], but I’ve also been called Saysha, See-sha, See-shaw, and even [name]Tasha[/name] and [name]Keisha[/name]!) and to spell (I get how difficult it is to grasp the double S concept, so Sesha doesn’t bother me so much. But I don’t understand how you can hear Sessha and think it’s spelled Seesha…how is that phonetically correct??), I still love it. I love that no one else has my name. I love that when someone walks into a room and calls [name]Jessica[/name] or [name]Sarah[/name] or [name]Elizabeth[/name], I’m not one of four people turning to answer. I love that the sound is sort of culturally ambiguous, but at the same time it has this funky story behind it, and an actual real fascinating history.

To make a long story short, my experience with having a common but cross-gender name was horrible, and my experience with having a very unique and more feminine sounding name has been extremely positive in comparison. When it comes time to name my kids, they will have unique, gender-specific, magical names with an incredible amount of thought and story behind them. Hopefully they will thank me someday!