Mean?

So I just simply wonder, would it be mean to name your child [name_f]Bertha[/name_f]?
I have always liked this name very much but I have never considered using it since no one seems to like it.
Often if you ask someone to say a really ugly name, they say [name_f]Bertha[/name_f].
I don’t know… Would it be mean? Would She get teased?

I don’t think it’s mean.

It would have been considered cruel to name your daughter [name_u]Hazel[/name_u] before [name_f]Julia[/name_f] [name_m]Roberts[/name_m] did it. Now it’s cool.

So many names I now adore, I used to loathe. nameberry does that to you, opens your mind.

I happen to like [name_f]Bertha[/name_f], nn [name_f]Betty[/name_f] or [name_f]Betsy[/name_f]. It reminds me of [name_u]Anne[/name_u] of [name_u]Green[/name_u] Gables, the wonderful painter [name_f]Berthe[/name_f] [name_u]Morisot[/name_u], and it gives me a calm, pleasant feeling.

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“Mean” is a strong word! I definitely don’t think using a name that you love and isn’t outright offensive isn’t something that can be described as mean.

That said, when it comes to names that I love that I know are a bit “controversial” I prefer to use them as nicknames. For example I love the name [name_u]Love[/name_u], but because I wouldn’t want to risk such a brave choice, I’d only use it as a nickname for [name_f]Lavender[/name_f], [name_f]Lovise[/name_f], etc. You could do something similar with [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] - Maybe with [name_f]Bernadette[/name_f], [name_f]Roberta[/name_f], [name_f]Alberta[/name_f], or [name_f]Elizabeth[/name_f] as a full name?

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Not at all mean, I don’t think! Also, I am certainly biased, but I totally don’t agree that [name_u]Hazel[/name_u] was a cruel name to give before [name_f]Julia[/name_f] [name_m]Roberts[/name_m] did…!! I don’t think any of those “old lady” sounding names are cruel, myself!

Children don’t know if their name or their classmates’ names are considered “old” or “stuffy” or “trendy” or anything else! I have a hard time imagining a little girl called [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] being teased by her friends or schoolmates just because her name was [name_f]Bertha[/name_f].

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I wouldn’t describe it as mean because I don’t like what that could imply if applied to a parent. I would, however, point out everything you’ve mentioned as a con for the name. It’s old, it’s out of style, it’s frumpy, it’s often on a layperson’s radar in a negative way (ugly name), many people don’t like it, and I’ll add that it’s often the name given to big, old things (like old machinery, usually described as Big Bertha).

I don’t think Hazel is the right example here though. It was number 683 in 2004 when Julia Roberts’ daughter was born (404 babies) and rising. For context, names given to around 404 babies in 2020 include Calliope, Louise, Faye, and Kaydence. Bertha was given to 26 babies in 2020.

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I don’t think it’s mean, and I don’t think children will make fun of her. However, I can see adults raising their eyebrows or TV shows having jokes about the name, since [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] is definitely used as a default “bad, out-fashioned name”. I know personally, I wouldn’t want to be named [name_f]Bertha[/name_f]. I don’t think it’s completely unusable, though – the similar [name_f]Berta[/name_f] is still popular in some places, and there are many nickname options she could go by like [name_u]Bertie[/name_u], [name_f]Birdie[/name_f], [name_u]Bert[/name_u], [name_f]Betty[/name_f], etc.

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I don’t think naming your child [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] would be mean but I think [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] is one of those names that may raise an eyebrow as I think it’s a bit unexpected, out of style like for example [name_f]Gertrude[/name_f].

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I don’t think it’s mean because that wouldn’t be your intention, but I wouldn’t want to be called [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] personally

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Depends on the context. Maybe it’s fine in some cultures, but I think in an English-speaking context it might be odd because (1) it’s very old-fashioned (and not in a good way) and (2) there’s the unfortunate “Big Bertha” association. I can imagine a girl named [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] getting teased about it, especially if she’s overweight. I certainly wouldn’t want “Big Bertha” to be my nickname. For a shy girl who lacks confidence, a name like [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] may be burdensome in a way that a “normal” name like [name_f]Ava[/name_f] or [name_f]Charlotte[/name_f] would not.

There’s nothing inherently “wrong” with the name [name_f]Bertha[/name_f], but in my community, it would be odd and I wouldn’t use it.

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I don’t think it would be “mean” necessarily. That’s a slippery slope to say that giving a child a name you love is mean because everyone’s opinion is subjective. The only time I’d say a name is mean is if it’s very clearly offensive like trying to use the name “Asshole” or something, or if you chose a name with the intention of being mean. That being said, I think it’s fair to acknowledge the potential negative associations with a name and recognize that it could lead to teasing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t use the name if it really is your #1 most loved name. You just need to be prepared to handle any negative comments and teach your child to handle negative comments as well. I also think you should be open to her choosing a nickname if she does decide she doesn’t like her name. Fortunately with the name [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] there are a few intuitive nicknames like [name_f]Birdie[/name_f] or [name_f]Betty[/name_f].

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I don’t think it’s mean! [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] is uncommon and yes, unpopular right now at a societal level because it’s so out of the style loop in terms of historical popularity and, to a certain extent, sound.

But I actually find the name objectively quite charming. It has the two-syllable, A-ending shape that is so universally loved, the gentle but solid -tha ending of [name_f]Martha[/name_f] and [name_f]Tabitha[/name_f] (both cool vintage here), and could be nicknamed every namenerd’s favorite [name_f]Birdie[/name_f] :dove: or [name_f]Betty[/name_f], [name_f]Beth[/name_f], [name_f]Bess[/name_f], Bee…

I think it’s more association, received wisdom and just the general cycle of style that gives [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] a particularly bad rep. There are some names that I just can’t understand the appeal of soundwise, no matter how in or out of style they might be, but [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] is not one of them.

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I agree with others, I personally wouldn’t want to be called [name_f]Bertha[/name_f]. It just doesn’t feel very current and gives me a thrumpy vibe. Maybe I would consider it for a pet but it just doesn’t appeal to me that much, unfortunately.

I think a little [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] will stand out, it is a hard name to pull off.

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I think Martha/Tabitha are good alternatives!

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no, not mean. but there is still a good chance that she will dislike her name.

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Not saying I found it cruel to name someone [name_u]Hazel[/name_u], simply that many would have. I’ve always been a bold namer.

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Though being mean is of course not your intention, I think it would be… perhaps thoughtless is the word, to name a child [name_f]Bertha[/name_f]. The fact that almost everyone in current society thinks that the name is very old/frumpy, plus the Big [name_f]Bertha[/name_f] thing, points to a name your child would probably not enjoy. I would go so far as to say it would affect people’s perception of her, too. Many people try not to intentionally judge someone by their name, but subconscious impressions can go a long way! If I were a [name_f]Bertha[/name_f], I would feel self-conscious and sad that society generally viewed my name as a sort of joke. She may love it, but it’s not worth the risk, IMO.

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I just find it a little…dated (it hasn’t ranked since 1985). It gives me similar vibes as [name_f]Brenda[/name_f] or [name_f]Linda[/name_f], which are both also pretty dated.
Personally, I would keep it as a middle. Most people don’t actually get teased because of their names anymore, but I would hate to be named [name_f]Bertha[/name_f]. :sweat_smile:
It wouldn’t be mean, since you would be clearly well intentioned, but it’s maybe not the best idea.
[name_m]Even[/name_m] if they went by a nickname, there’s always the dreaded first day of school, where they call out your name for attendance.
[name_f]Every[/name_f] person is different though. I wouldn’t do it.

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[name_f]Roberta[/name_f] could be a good alternative… or even going with “Berta” as a full name could lighten it up! For example, I think [name_f]Marta[/name_f] is lighter sounding than [name_f]Martha[/name_f].

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I can only respond from an American perspective. If by “mean” you are asking whether your child will resent your name choice, then almost certainly, yes. [name_f]Bertha[/name_f], [name_f]Helga[/name_f], etc are stereotypically hideous names in pop culture. You could do [name_f]Birdie[/name_f], [name_f]Betty[/name_f], or even [name_f]Agatha[/name_f].
[name_u]Or[/name_u] for a boy you could do [name_m]Burton[/name_m].

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