The 'Naughtiest' Names in Britain

I read this in the paper a few months ago and saved it because I thought it was interesting look at perceptions. (Sorry it’s late, I’ve had a rough time of it lately)

Basically quizzed 3000 teachers in [name]Britain[/name] as to their ‘opinion’ on a name and whether they perceived it to be a ‘naughty’ name.


  1. [name]Callum[/name]

  2. [name]Connor[/name]

  3. [name]Jack[/name]

  4. [name]Daniel[/name]

  5. [name]Brandon[/name]

  6. [name]Charlie[/name]

  7. [name]Kyle[/name]

  8. [name]Liam[/name]

  9. [name]Jake[/name]

  10. [name]Brooklyn[/name]

  11. [name]Chelsea[/name]

  12. [name]Courtney[/name]

  13. [name]Chardonnay[/name]

  14. [name]Aleisha[/name]

  15. [name]Casey[/name]

  16. [name]Crystal[/name]

  17. [name]Jessica[/name]

  18. [name]Brooke[/name]

  19. [name]Demi[/name]

  20. [name]Aisha[/name]


  1. [name]Alexander[/name]

  2. [name]Adam[/name]

  3. [name]Christopher[/name]

  4. [name]Benjamin[/name]

  5. [name]Edward[/name]

  6. [name]Matthew[/name]

  7. [name]Daniel[/name]

  8. [name]James[/name]

  9. [name]Harry[/name]

  10. [name]William[/name]

  11. [name]Elizabeth[/name]

  12. [name]Charlotte[/name]

  13. [name]Emma[/name]

  14. [name]Hannah[/name]

  15. [name]Rebecca[/name]

  16. [name]Abigail[/name]

  17. [name]Grace[/name]

  18. [name]Alice[/name]

  19. [name]Anna[/name]

  20. [name]Sophie[/name]


  1. [name]Jack[/name]

  2. [name]Daniel[/name]

  3. [name]Charlie[/name]

  4. [name]Callum[/name]

  5. [name]Benjamin[/name]

  6. [name]Connor[/name]

  7. [name]Adam[/name]

  8. [name]Alfie[/name]

  9. [name]Christopher[/name]

  10. [name]James[/name]

  11. [name]Emma[/name]

  12. [name]Charlotte[/name]

  13. [name]Hannah[/name]

  14. [name]Anna[/name]

  15. [name]Caitlin[/name]

  16. [name]Chelsea[/name]

  17. [name]Courtney[/name]

  18. [name]Holly[/name]

  19. [name]Brooke[/name]

  20. [name]Jessica[/name]


There are definitely undertones of social class here. [name]Just[/name] looking at the article comments (this was run in other papers as well) it is clear that many people (rightly or wrongly) regard a lot of the ‘naughty’ names as Chav names (Chav - Wikipedia) linking parenting skills and naming taste together within a sub-social culture.

What kind of teacher seriously responds to such a poll? I wonder how these teachers’ feelings toward their students’ names might affect the way they treat their students in class. I also think these teachers have just made a good case for home schooling.

– [name]Nephele[/name]

I saw this article when it came out over here. It remember thinking that it probably would have been more rightly called “The ‘Lowest Class’ Names in Britian” (but I suppose they couldn’t really get away with that!), as you said, this is probably more of what they are getting at.

There is a pretty big socio-economic class divide on names in [name]Britain[/name]. There are of course those that go both ways but there are also always a handful of names that many people from either side would seek to avoid respectively.

I think these lists are aimed at middle class parents hoping to avoid accidentally giving their child a name perceived as lower class because of what it could mean to teacher’s expectations of them at school, for employment opportunities later in life, etc Sounds a bit harsh but generally held perceptions do effect first impressions, rightly or wrongly.

I dunno. Personally I wouldn’t have taken part, but, speaking as a teacher myself, I don’t think it’s necessarily black and white. Teachers are as prone to human prejudice as the next man, and can we all really say that we don’t have a knee-jerk supposition when we meet say a baby [name]Archibald[/name] or Myckynzee? I think most of the teachers in this poll simply (and most likely naturally) associated the names they put down with their own personal associations of the children they have taught. But just because we (any of us) have an association with a name, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are prejudiced against anyone with that name.

Have I taught Chelseas and Callums with behavioural difficulties? Yes. Several.
Would I treat any new [name]Callum[/name] or [name]Chelsea[/name] left to my educational care as ‘naughty’ children? No. My judgements and assessment of a child’s needs and behaviour is based solely on their individual basis.
Would I avoid these names personally? Yes, probably. But that is because they have a personal negative association for me. [name]Just[/name] as any other person would avoid naming their child a name that had negative connotations for them.

If the teacher is any kind of teacher at all then any [name]Callum[/name] or [name]Chelsea[/name] will be in no danger of being ‘labelled’ simply based on their name in a classroom setting. But, on just reading the name, people in wider education and employment circles may make a knee-jerk reaction to it (as I said, we all do on simply reading/hearing a name).
It is very similar issue to all the studies we read on “ethnic” or “kr8tiv” names being discriminated against on employment/college applications.

Thanks for your response, [name]Elea[/name]. I agree with you that we all have our little prejudices ” nobody is immune to that, not even teachers. For myself, I know there are some names that appeal to me and others that don’t, but I’ve never really thought to myself that, say, someone named “[name]Chelsea[/name]” is going to be a troublesome individual.

[name]Even[/name] a less innocuous name, like, say, “Allegory Jellicoe” isn’t likely to make me think that child is necessarily going to be “naughty.” (Although I may wonder somewhat about what possessed the parents to name her that.) Maybe I’m the odd one out. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I would feel very uncomfortable if I had a child whose name appeared on the teachers’ “naughty list” in that survey.

You wrote: If the teacher is any kind of teacher at all then any [name]Callum[/name] or [name]Chelsea[/name] will be in no danger of being ‘labelled’ simply based on their name in a classroom setting." I would certainly hope that to be the case. And I believe that to be the case with you.

But, really, those 3,000 other teachers in [name]Britain[/name] who seriously responded to this survey have already done the labeling by admitting that they make assumptions about children based on the children’s names.

And yes, as you pointed out, such assumptions are made “in wider education and employment circles.” Sadly, such assumptions are still being made in the employment field today based on people’s surnames, let alone their first names.

The teachers I personally know have a wonderful sense of humor, and I can’t imagine them responding seriously to such a survey: Which children’s names do you earmark as belonging to “troublemakers on the first day of class”? (wording taken from the article).

The teachers I know would write “Allegory Jellicoe” (or some other preposterous names) on that survey, and then laugh about the questioner later in the teachers’ lounge.

– [name]Nephele[/name]

I certainly agree with you [name]Nephele[/name]. As canadianne pointed out, it seemed that the article was more about ‘warning away’ middle class parents from choosing names that were patently attributed to being “lower class”.

I can see why you (and most people for that matter) wouldn’t view a name in ‘naughty’ terms, but, teachers are in a somewhat different situation.

[name]Say[/name] if you met two Joshuas who were both very snobby, you would probably subconsciously associate the name [name]Joshua[/name] with “snobby” thus meaning you avoid using the name yourself. If you met a [name]Joshua[/name] you would probably in the back of your head think “I wonder if he will be like the other Joshuas… I’ll have to wait and see”. This is something we are all naturally disposed to do I think.

Most people don’t come across much ‘socially unacceptable’ behaviour in children enough perhaps to tie these associations with names. But teachers come across it all the time with so many children that they will come into contact with.

I guess what I’m trying to say (very incoherently I’m afraid) is that, unfortunately, teachers do, inevitably, get their own personal ‘difficult child’ labels in their heads to do with names. This is not ideal, but I don’t think teachers can help it anymore than someone could who had met snobby Joshuas could. We are only human, and unfortunately we come across anti-social behaviour in children more than most. I still would like to believe, based on my own experience with collegues, that this pre-suppositions with regards to names would not affect the quality of teaching that any child receives.


My m-i-l [name]Marjie[/name] is a horrid person and is a retired teacher. Many teachers are wonderful, [name]Marjie[/name] was a meanie. She hated any kids named [name]George[/name], [name]Jesus[/name] or [name]Tim[/name].

I think it’s helpful to know some teachers feel this way. I assume the survey was anonymous. I agree with canadianne - we all make associations with names, don’t we? And whether or not teachers should be above it all, clearly, not all of them are. Society doesn’t respond to names we choose the way we think they should, and this is an exhibit of that fact.

It’s better to know the truth than to suppose all teachers are decent and unprejudiced. I’m not sure it makes a case for home-schooling! That’s pretty drastic. I would hope most of these teachers give new students a fair chance, but I went to school and I know what teachers seem like. They’re people with jobs. They aren’t saintly. Kids are people just like an adult is a person, not in some protected category (not one I’m talking about). When your job is to work with a lot of other people, you put on your game, you go about it like it’s fair, but you have people you’re genuinely happy to know and people you will be glad to see get out of your space by next year.

I recently told my sister with regard to daycare (because I worked in it a few years), of course you think your kid is their favorite. Everyone can’t really be your favorite and it’s impossible to be fairly in love with every child the same, but that doesn’t mean you give less care to the frustrating ones. I met her kid though, he probably is their favorite. Polls of parents also reveal they have favorites among their own children, including some actual studies and surveys, in addition to the myriad sound-offs all over the internet of parents admitting to it.

Of course, this survey with the teachers gives you an idea of the impression people do get and carry with certain names - useful information. [name]How[/name] should you react, by choosing a “good” name instead of a “bad” one? Choosing any name you like and letting perhaps they get prejudiced by their teachers, or more probably not being prejudiced but being judged on their behavior and stacked in statistical rows of “most of the bad kids had this name.” When you teach hundreds of children in a career, you’re bound to notice a pattern, but not judge people on their name. You are probably bringing the “bad” associations with you into your personal parenthood and choosing against those names, isn’t that what you do? We have had several teachers explain the pitfalls of choosing a name once you’ve been a teacher a few years - can’t help but have some negative associations.

I can’t choose a [name]Josephine[/name] or a [name]Delphine[/name] purely on the basis of association, and they are beautiful names. I read what [name]Susan[/name] said about her mother-in-law – everyone I’ve ever known named [name]Tim[/name] was funny and nice, but as a child, possibly a holy terror and that might be why they have the kind of humor that I like. I associate [name]Tim[/name] as good, but I’ve never known them as children. Probably the people I like best as adults were disruptive at school, matter of fact.

Thanks for this, [name]Elea[/name]! I think it’s so interesting!

Take care! :slight_smile:

I am very surprised that [name]Callum[/name] is perceived as the “naughtiest” name. [name]Calum[/name] is my brother’s name, and up until recently wasn’t very popular at all, and I always see it as an unusual but classic name, not a cheap or “low-class/naughty” name. Weird. [name]Connor[/name], [name]Jack[/name] and [name]Charlie[/name] don’t seem to fit with the rest of the boy’s list, but all the girls names are of a similar style. Hmm.

However, the list is totally a classist list, no doubt. Tryyndee or new or made-up names as seen as low-class whereas classic, well-known names are considered upper-class and therefore more respectable. I’m not saying this is good or right but it happens everywhere, and everyone judges a child by its name, which is why it is so important to think very carefully before naming your child. I seriously doubt the classist prejudices is just situated in the UK either, it is everywhere, and I also seriously doubt that it will ever end.