What's crossing the line?

[name]How[/name] strange/uncommon of a name are you willing to name your children? What’s crossing the line for you?

Been wondering about this recently!

  • [name]Nicole[/name]

I go back and forth with this question in my head all the time!

My taste is unusual I would say, but not to the point of being completely out to left field, however there are some names that grab my attention and I love that I know aren’t actually useable, or would be frowned upon more so than my other choices.

Usually, I will draw the line at names that are next to unpronounceable for the average person, names with kre8ive spellings, Tryndee names, and any name that would garner negative attention. I tend not to be drawn to super weird names though, just off-beat.

Names with very negative meanings, or connotations. Names that are too difficult for a 8 year old to say and spell.

It’s hard for me to remember what it was like when I was having children because I was so set on what our names were for my children (my kids are 26 and 20). However, I was appalled when my sister decided she would use the Russian/Viking name [name]Rurik[/name] for their baby if it were a boy because it would be impossible for a child to say and because it’s really out there.

Now, however, I really don’t like made-up names that are not phonetically possible in English. Children with these types of names seem to have a hard time reading and spelling (and no, I don’t have any hard research, just the anecdotal type you get in classrooms year after year). Hard to learn English correctly when your name defies phonics. I also don’t like names that are silly, weird, or “look at how clever I am” names, primarily because these are real, live human beings we’re naming, not paper dolls, and I see the results of parental irresponsibility in the classroom all the time. If you can’t picture a Supreme [name]Court[/name] [name]Justice[/name] wearing the name, I don’t think you should use it…The last type of name I don’t like is word names, just for personal preferences. Words are words. Once words become names – with certain historical exceptions, such as virtue names, some of which I like – then people are think that, as with names, they can spell them and pronounce them however they please. And what happens to our language?

Does freedom of speech really mean freedom of having a language?

I meant people can think that, as with names, they can spell them …:slight_smile:

Oh, I have no idea! Popularity-wise, I mean. [name]Olivia[/name] is on my top 3, and she’s on the top 10, and [name]Arianne[/name] is also on my top 3, and she’s not even listed. Popularity really doesn’t matter to me at all–I had a popular name and I love it, but I’m also curious as to what it would be like to have a lesser-common name, and I think I might like not being the 20th [name]Ashley[/name] at my former university.

I try to stay away from trendy names, but I don’t worry about names that are popular but what I would consider classic. Some of my favorites–like [name]Isabelle[/name], [name]Olivia[/name], [name]Charlotte[/name], [name]Lily[/name], [name]Caleb[/name], [name]Jack[/name], etc.–are popular but they’ve been around for decades upon decades, so they have enough staying power for me to feel that they’re classic enough. No tryndeigh spellings, no made-up names… I try to stay with something that is common enough that my kid won’t feel tortured for having that name… I love more ethnic choices like [name]Eilidh[/name], [name]Eliska[/name], Gracja, [name]Zenobia[/name], etc., but some people don’t know how to say those names and I think they’re just more trouble than they’re worth. Also, no unisex names on girls, period. Especially for FNs. I would use something like [name]Eden[/name] as a mn for a daughter, though. I love unisex names on boys but if it’s too gone for the girls, then I won’t use it. I am dying to use [name]Bailey[/name] for a boy but if by the time I get to use it, it’s not listed on the SSA list, there’s no way I’ll use it as a FN (unless I end up marrying a [name]Bailey[/name] and he wants to continue the name). [name]Even[/name] now, with it barely on the SSA list, I don’t know if I would use it. Most people I talk to who say they know a boy named [name]Bailey[/name] say that he hasn’t really had problems with it, though, so maybe it’d be okay to use it.

I take the following factors into consideration:

  1. [name]How[/name] easy the name is to spell and pronounce

  2. Whether or not there are overwhelming negative images or connotations attached to the name

  1. Ease in pronouncing and spelling it in the country in which you live. (I’m all for honoring your ancestors, but if the vast majority of people where you live can’t spell or pronounce it, then I’d use it as a mn or not at all.)
  2. [name]Unique[/name] spellings. (If I see a name and it takes me several minutes to figure out how to even begin to pronounce it, I just give up!)
  3. Unisex names. (There’s only very few unisex names I even like. I will say, though, that many names that are unisex I’d never use because I only know females with the name. Many names that I consider female NOW used to be male names. I’ve noticed that there are a ton of berries that still consider them good for boys. I much prefer names that when you see it you can automatically know the gender of the person.)
  4. Names that have a bad connotation or are offensive the the vast majority of people. (Named after an std, a mass murderer, etc.)

I don’t mind any of this as much if it’s a mn versus a fn. As most people don’t generally hear another person’s mn that often, I think there’s more wiggle room.

Whether I like a name very much depends on the name, though. I like some that are very traditional, some that are trendy and some more unique. I don’t really know until I hear the name if I’ll like it or not! The more unique ones, while I like them I’d never actually use them.

[name]How[/name] uncommon? Very but not too much. I am attracted to names that have different sounds to it. Also, I like names that have a variety of letters in them.
Strange? Not too strange. I would not want to put my child through hell with a name that has all the letters of their alphabet. Haha!

Popular Names - I cannot imagine naming my kid something that I have heard before as a first name. It would be boring for me especially with my first child! Not to mention, my name is not exactly common either.
Unisex Names - [name]Just[/name] as pippi777 has mentioned: there are few that I like, too.
Names of People Outside Family - This pairs off nicely with popularity. My child does not need to be named after anyone I know outside of family. In particular, I would like to refer to my kids by names that deviate from my circle of friends and acquaintances.
Must Either Stand-Alone/Be Minimized -Overall, the name has to be able to stand on its own. Whether that means that there is a balance of consonants and vowels or it sounds nice rhythmically (or both); I believe a name should be able to announce itself.

After meeting new people this past weekend, I remembered how good it is to have a nickname. My name is not spelled the way most people pronounce it. And it is a unique, long name. So this can bring issues to those who do not want to fuss over a long name. To solve this, I let people shorten my name or come up with some other alias (that’s appealing and relevant).
Meanings - The meaning of the name does matter to a certain extent for me.
[name]Do[/name] I Like The [name]Way[/name] I Write It? - I figure that if I am going to end up writing my child/children’s name over and over, it better be one that I liked writing out.If I do not, then it gets tossed.

I agree with the point that it has to look attractive written down as well as sounding good. I for one don’t like names with Ys as they fall below the writing line, unless that balances with your surname of course (which it wouldn’t in our case). The name also has to fit with parents and siblings: My friends loved the name Inira (Welsh for [name]Honour[/name]) and but their names are [name]Hannah[/name] and [name]Mark[/name] so they felt they had to go with a more common name so chose [name]Grace[/name] Inira instead. [name]Hannah[/name], [name]Mark[/name] & Inira don’t sound like they know each other at all.

The negative connotations thing is hard to gauge as there will always be a language where an unusual/made-up name means something rude e.g. in Arabic, Latvian or Chinese. I like to think my children will be very well-travelled and worldly so testing names out with foreign friends is a good idea, and prounounceability in other languages (especially ones that will become more important) is a must.

I also do a test: Can I imagine that person as a DJ in an underground club, then can I imagine them as a hotshot lawyer or doctor.

I have the problem of working with 3 different countries (where my family’s from, where DP’s is from and where we live), so what’s easy to spell and pronounce in one country may not work for the other two. So I’m not too strict on that rule so much, though I do usually prefer simpler names. As much as I love [name]Odhran[/name], no one on either side or in this country will be able to spell it or guess how to say it, so I’d go with [name]Oran[/name] if we decided to use it.

Meaning-wise, I’d like a name that doesn’t have an overtly negative meaning, but I do have names that I can forgive the meaning or have chosen to go with a less accepted one ([name]Cormac[/name] and [name]Mara[/name] for example). But we’ve decided as much as we love the sound of the name [name]Pagan[/name], it just isn’t fair on a child to use it, even if we don’t see it as a negative meaning.

I prefer to use an accepted spelling and don’t like made-up names. I’d also like a name that works for a child, teen, adult, adult professional. I also want to be able to shout it across the supermarket without being embarrassed. I also have to feel that a child could wear the name without getting hassled in school, etc. My DP is more worried about this than I and more for boys than girls, but he won’t use [name]Ariadne[/name] because she’ll get called Hairy, etc. I also won’t use unisex names or mix around with the gender of a name as I have a male name (I’m a woman) and it has caused me a lot of problems over the years.

I draw the line at super-ethnic names that are not my heritage. My husband and I are both from the US and pretty much ethnic mutts. I love some of the very Scandinavian and Irish names, but I just wouldn’t feel right giving my child one of them. Examples are [name]Saoirse[/name] and [name]Silje[/name]. [name]Lovely[/name] names, but I feel like I have no excuse to saddle my kids with their uniqueness!

I personally wouldn’t name a child anything were I can imagine a ‘What?’ reaction from people - a test that sets off-beat away from plain unusable. For instance ‘His name is [name]Romeo[/name]’ might surprise people but almost everyone is familiar with it and could spell it without difficulty. However, ‘This is Bartalomé’ is a whole different story.

As far as popularity is concerned, I don’t have set standards. I would try to avoid using names which are popular in my area rather than what lists and statistics are telling me are popular. It would also depend on how much I loved a name - my much adored [name]Amelia[/name] is pretty popular in the UK (within the top 10, I think) but if I was expecting right now it would probably be a main contender on my list despite this.

I’ll use “uncommon” names, but I won’t do “strange” names. They’re often two very different things, imo.

I have an unusual, hard-to-pronounce, hard-to-remember last name that no one gets right, and it has a big impact on the sorts of names I pick for my children. I want their first names to be easy to live with: easy to spell and pronounce, have positive or neutral associations, and be familiar enough not to provoke “lolwut?” reactions from people. I’ll use names ranging from very popular to uncommon as long as they meet those standards.

Mm, I see what you mean about the negative connotations.

And sharing the names with foreign friends to test how it sounds? So true! Thanks for the useful tip :wink:

For me my biggest thing is that it can’t have a negative meaning in another culture since my kids would be raised in two different countries and will be well travelled. I don’t want them to ever be surprised to find out their name is associated with something negative. I love the name [name]Baya[/name] but the Swahili definition means “ugly” or something like that.
I know this is probably an irrational fear :confused:

Creative spellings and some trendy names. If [name]Josephine[/name] ever makes it to the top 20 or something and becomes “trendy” I will use it regardless.m, that’s how much I love the name.

Easy to pronounce in different languages. This is a hard one for me since [name]Athenais[/name] (can’t do accent on phone) is my favorite choice for middle name but it’s sort of hard to say in English and loses its beauty so I’m not sure I can use it. Also I prefer [name]Beatrice[/name] with the accent but I wouldn’t expect English speakers to say it that way but I’m sort of bummed about it just being [name]Beatrice[/name] so pronunciation is a big deal to me (and probably another irrational fear lol)

I’m a huge name enthusiast and am currently waiting a few years before I start trying, but I constantly think about names and where names get too weird.
Firstly, weird spellings are a huge pet peeve. [name]Jessica[/name] is how you spell it, not Jesykah. I think any name I ever choose should have one specific spelling that I’d never stray from.
Word names are also a no-no. [name]Flower[/name] names, like [name]Violet[/name] or [name]Rose[/name], are perfectly lovely, but, [name]Blue[/name]? [name]Apple[/name]? No thank you. Those aren’t names.
I would also never consider a made up name. If it doesn’t exist in any baby name book, it isn’t a name.

Made up i.e [name]Akeela[/name] (i know a queer girl with that name) spelt funny i.e Mickynziiey ([name]Mackenzie[/name]) or just cruel [name]Apple[/name], Peach or Watermelon. Or no [name]Redd[/name] Kross (red cross)

For us, anything that isn’t super-classic is falling over the line. It is very confining to be like this, because I do like a lot of different style names, but it is working in our favor, since we don’t have to worry about our kids having the same name as everyone in their classes. Our son [name]Paul[/name] is the only one in his entire school with that name, for example.