Kohen / Koen / Cohen / Coen

I really like the name [name_m]Koen[/name_m]/[name_m]Kohen[/name_m] but I see the name spelled [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] can be considered offensive because it’s a Jewish last name. The posts I saw were from years ago so I wanted to make a new post. If [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] is offensive, what about [name_m]Koen[/name_m] or [name_m]Kohen[/name_m] or even [name_m]Coen[/name_m], are those offensive as well?

Coen is pronounced “KOON” which is not appropriate, at least in the US where it’s been used as a racial slur. I would spell it Cowen or Cowan.

I have no issues with [name_m]Kohen[/name_m].

I’m in Aus and have met lots of [name_m]Cohen[/name_m]'s and have never heard of any issues until I read about them on Nameberry.

What about [name_u]Owen[/name_u]?

[name_m]Kohen[/name_m] is the same as [name_m]Cohen[/name_m]. [name_m]Coen[/name_m]/[name_m]Koen[/name_m] isn’t pronounced the same. Cowan looks like coward. Cowen could work if you’re deadset on this name.

I appreciate you taking time to research this!

I don’t think it’s usable, sorry.

I’m not bothered by any of the spellings. Use the one you like most.

There are other threads on this you should check, one quite recently. It’s a name that is not usable with any spelling.

There’s a recent thread for someone naming their kid [name_u]Messiah[/name_u] and [name_m]Jesus[/name_m] is commonly used, so why not [name_m]Cohen[/name_m]?

If she lives in [name_u]America[/name_u], [name_m]Coen[/name_m] wouldn’t be a problem as it would be pronounced co-en.

I agree with this.

First of all, as a [name_m]Christian[/name_m] I do find [name_u]Messiah[/name_u] being used as a name a bit uncomfortable. Maybe not offensive but still displeasing nonetheless, so this isn’t a comparable example.

Doesn’t matter where she lives, the name is Dutch and is pronounced “KOON”, which is inappropriate. Where you live doesn’t change the pronunciation of a name.

Doesn’t matter where she lives, the name is Dutch and is pronounced “KOON”, which is inappropriate. Where you live doesn’t change the pronunciation of a name.

Where one lives can change the pronunciation of a name if a person doesn’t know a name’s original pronunciation. I used to work at daycare centers and encountered this. The most common mispronunciation of a name I encountered was [name_f]Ciara[/name_f] pronounced [name_u]Sierra[/name_u] or see-ar-uh… I’ve seen other names on here and other forums that the same thing happens to.

[name_m]Cohen[/name_m] isn’t really ‘offensive’ as a name, it just sort of make it look like you didn’t do any research at all. And it’s a big sign that you’re not Jewish :stuck_out_tongue:

The surname [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] is a sacred one, people whose surname is [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] are thought to have descended from the Priests and they have extra commandments to follow etc. It’s a very important position within the community. It’s closer to naming your kid ‘Preacher’ or potentially ‘Righteous’. So, not offensive per se. [name_m]Just[/name_m] really weird when someone who is Jewish encounters it.

I would use Kowen or just [name_u]Owen[/name_u]. Possibly [name_m]Bowen[/name_m]?

That doesn’t make it the correct pronunciation.

Language 101: regional differences are not hierarchical. Names have original pronounciation, that, however, does not make them correct or not if other communities adopt and reinterpret them. If an American names their child [name_m]Coen[/name_m], and pronounces it Co-en, then that person is probably going to correct you for calling him COoN. Because that’s not his name, and it doesn’t matter what Danish people say to him.

I am Jewish, have met A kid named [name_m]Cohen[/name_m]. I thought to myself, well that family’s not Jewish and never thought much more of it. That said, I think [name_m]Bowen[/name_m], [name_u]Owen[/name_u], [name_u]Rowan[/name_u], are all lovely alternatives. Take your pick.

That was so much more succinctly said! I am also Jewish, but ignore my post and read this one.

So is it ok to use the name as a first name is you are Jewish?

Erm… It would still be weird, but for different reasons. I’d be very surprised if I met a Jewish person whose first name was [name_m]Cohen[/name_m]. But I would assume then that it was an honour name. It would still be odd, but the parents would likely be more aware of the cultural significance of the name and have another family reason to use it.

I don’t think it’s necessarily a no-go name if you really, truly love it and cannot find anything else. I just think it’s a weird choice for someone who is Jewish, and a clear ‘I have no idea of this name’s significance/I choose to ignore the significance of this name’ if it’s used by someone who isn’t. That’s not to say you can’t use it, just that it gives off a certain vibe.

I’m Jewish, and would never see it as offensive, just strange. I’d assume you just liked the way it sounds, like any of the other ‘-owen’ names out there, and didn’t realize that it’s a very common Jewish last name. The fact that Cohens are priests would not even factor into the equation.

I’d see it like someone naming their child “[name_m]Smith[/name_m]” or “[name_m]Johnson[/name_m].”

I’m Jewish and I wouldn’t use [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] as a first name.

I would never deliberately be offensive, and (being a name nerd) I would be embarrassed if I used a name that had a meaning or history that was specific to a culture and I was completely unaware. At the same time, I don’t research name meanings or origins because they’re not that important to me. Like, I don’t care if a name I like means “bitter” instead of “mighty,” because I’m naming a kid and not a character in a novel and the overall sense of the name as I see it is more important than one blip of info that has more or less faded out of general knowledge. I understand wanting to express certain feelings or ideas, and I don’t begrudge people who want to do that; I like a good virtue name, so, hey, more power to them. It’s just not how I choose a name.

So, I understand that to a Jewish person the name [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] would be weird, and possibly offensive to some. But I guess I feel like we’re moving, as a culture, into a philosophical place where if I’m offended then the impact of offense on me turns around and determines what the intent was, and then we try to censure or control the supposed intent. “You can’t do or say XYZ because I am offended by it.” Regardless of intent, impact is all that seems to matter to some.

I’m of a little bit more laid back mentality. Of course, I would like to know what impact my actions have on others, and I’ll try to self-correct any behavior that could be hurtful to another person. I won’t walk down a street metaphorically swinging a club and not caring who I strike.

But you don’t actually get to tell me what to name my child, for example, because of your preconceived notions of offense, no matter how weird you think I might be or how hurtful you perceive my naming choice to be. You don’t know my intention, only the impact on yourself. If I know the impact, I’ll self-police my action so my original intention - choosing a great name for my child - doesn’t get muddied up with your feelings - I won’t walk past you and hit you with a club on purpose.

But, if I choose a name that I like and it happens to bother you - well, you can choose to continue to feel offended or weirded out by it, or you can shrug your shoulders and move on. My intention is to choose a name that’s meaningful to me and seems right for my child, given my knowledge and my circumstances and my family; you don’t actually get a say. So, if I choose to name my child [name_m]Cohen[/name_m] or [name_u]Messiah[/name_u] or [name_m]Jesus[/name_m] or [name_m]Lucifer[/name_m], by all means you can express your opinion (once, if I ask and/or we are close friends), but you have to remember that it’s my choice and my child, and the impact of my child’s name on your life is probably not at the top of my list of cares in the world. And, honestly, as a grown up you get to choose how offended you remain, regardless of either intention or impact.