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Top 25 Banned Baby Names

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I'm a dental hygienist, pyrography artist, avid gardener, writer, vegetarian, world traveler, and many other things!

Society and governments limit baby names in order to protect children from bullying and unnecessary judgment and scrutiny.

Society and governments limit baby names in order to protect children from bullying and unnecessary judgment and scrutiny.

Naming a child is one of the most personal decisions a parent can make. The name a child is given directly (or indirectly) affects all aspects of his or her life. Will the child get teased in school? Will their name be mispronounced? Will they adequately represent their family line and whatever relative they were named after?

In some cases the question becomes, "Will this child's name incite hatred, bullying, and cause undue problems in their life based solely on the name they've been given?"

Many governments have taken an upfront position when it comes to baby names. Just about every country has at least a few names on the forbidden baby names list, with each country having different reasons for such choices. Some countries limit the length of the names allowed, while others limit the available names to those historically used in the region and nothing outside of it.

Reasons for Banning Baby Names

Most parents would assume they could name their child anything they want, since they are the parents and are responsible for making decisions for him/her. However, the government and society has stepped into the equation, somewhat limiting the official names you can give to kids. What you call someone in your own house is one thing, but when it comes to government forms, politics, and social norms, not all names are created equal. So what are the main reasons a baby name could be banned?

1. Political

Obviously some names in history are connected with such heinous acts that naming an innocent child after them would potentially taint their entire life. These names can be infamous mass murderers, those who practiced genocide, tyrants, dictators, and other political characters that the State (country) doesn't want to associate with. Not only does the State not want to associate with those characters, but they don't want anyone in their territory to associate with them. Examples: Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong.

2. Social

These are names that paint an unbecoming picture of the children who possess them based on physical shortcomings, racist terms, stereotyping, and the like. This also includes anti-religious names and curse words. This category of names puts the child down, reflects negatively on their abilities or biology, or otherwise causes others to "judge" the child based solely on their name. Examples: Jim Crow, Fuck Jesus.

3. Societal

With the growing trend toward the heavy use of hashtags (#), at (@) signs, and emoticons, these names involve special characters that are unpronounceable, including numerals. In addition to being hard to pronounce, these names don't fit into the systems society has built, such as the driver's licensing system rules, social security card rules, and so on. Basically these names are ahead of their time, and in many countries, aren't viewed as acceptable. Examples: P@tty 1Sabel, #Awesome, #BestSonEver.

At what point does government hold too much control over personal choice?

At what point does government hold too much control over personal choice?

When Does Protection Become Control?

Some governments limit the length of each name allowed, or limit the child's entire name (first, middle, last) to a certain number of characters. Other countries do not allow "foreign" names, or names that do not use that country's characters.

That's fine, but at what point does government hold too much control over personal choice? As always, there's a fine line between protection and control. Telling us we must choose names that are a certain number of characters is fine, but in some cultures names are all extremely lengthy and some people have 8 middle names, all very meaningful. Could the limit of name length not be seen as discriminating against certain cultures? What do you think?

While some of the names are obviously offensive, others just seem to be axed because the government says so. For example, somebody wanted to name their child "J." The government denied this name because they felt it would make life difficult for the child because kids wouldn't know whether to put a period (.) after the "J" or not. Are you kidding me?

No matter what, it's our duty to protect children from unnecessary bullying from completely preventable things, like names. But just as importantly, we need to keep our governments in check to some degree.

All of these baby names were officially denied somewhere around the world.

All of these baby names were officially denied somewhere around the world.

Top 25 Forbidden Baby Names

All of the forbidden baby names listed below are names that parents officially attempted to register around the world. In these cases, however, the names were declined (the reasons are usually pretty obvious.) How many of these banned baby names do you agree with?

1. II

2. Batman

3. Burger King

4. Constable

5. Cyanide

6. D*ckhead

7. Duke

8. Hitler

9. Ikea

10. James Bond

All of these names are banned somewhere in the world.

All of these names are banned somewhere in the world.

11. Judge

12. King

13. LOL

14. Lucifer

15. Majesty

16. Master

17. Martian

18. Monkey

19. Osama Bin Laden

20. Queen

21. Robocop

22. Rogue

23. Satan

24. Superman

25. Terminator

Can you imagine naming your child "Cyanide"?

Can you imagine naming your child "Cyanide"?

© 2018 Kate P


Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on March 14, 2020:

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Interesting article!

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on June 26, 2019:

@Patricia Scott, I completely agree with you. I think government needs to get out of just about everything, including this. Thanks for the nice note.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on June 26, 2019:

@Tim Truzy, You raise a great point. I hadn't even thought about the copyright issue, believe it or not! I knew a "Duke" once and could see how, when traveling worldwide, that name could become an issue.. or perhaps a perk!

Patricia Scott from North Central Florida on June 26, 2019:

Interesting....not sure it is something I am in favor of....allowing government contol /looking to the government to 'fix' such issues gives away our voice. Thank you for sharing. Angels on the way this morning. ps

Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on June 21, 2019:

Great article. I can see why names like Batman and Superman are banned, they are copyrighted names. With Osama Bin Laden, I wonder what a parent would be thinking to do that. Yes, I've met some "Dukes" in my life, but there are no royal titles in America, so it must be o.k. Great work.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on November 20, 2018:

@Linda A, I remember (I believe) my Mom actually had a friend named Duke growing up. I like the name too. On a side note though, name laws vary by country, state, and province. In many places that name is probably perfectly legal. I guess the problem with it is that it's a "royal term," like Queen. My opinion is, who cares? But some overarching governments seem to think it would cause undue stress to the child and/or confusion about whether or not they're royalty. !

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on November 20, 2018:

@Tarrin Lupo, I have seen firsthand how someone's name has negatively affected their life (but it was actually their last name.) Thankfully, it's something the kid can eventually change. If we make names illegal, what sort of State control comes next? It opens the door to all sorts of power plays and governmental restrictions. Also: parents who would name their kids in such a way will likely do all manner of other destructive things to the kid that are legal. You can't regulate being an asshole parent.. it's perfectly legal to be a selfish idiot. They will exist no matter what the laws are. Sad but true!

Linda A on November 20, 2018:

I think Duke is a cool name for a kid. Geez.

Tarrin Lupo from New Hampshire on November 20, 2018:

Wow some of these names are so awful, but parents do all kind of dumb stuff to hurt their kids, it shouldn't be illegal.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on November 17, 2018:

@Lori Colbo, I agree that many of these names are potentially damaging. And sadly, my research is sound and these are all real names that parents applied for and were denied. I keep thinking nothing surprises me anymore, and yet I seem to be surprised on a daily basis. Maybe "shocked" is a more appropriate term than surprised at this point! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Lori Colbo from United States on November 17, 2018:

Parents who name their kids these names are not considering the damage these names can cause. They are being negligent and cruel. I'd like to believe your research is wrong, but nothing surprises me anymore...well almost nothing.

Kate P (author) from The North Woods, USA on November 16, 2018:

@Rochelle Frank, While I poo-pooed the idea of "J" being a banned name, with your example of R B Smith it becomes more clear why that name would become difficult later in life. That said, though, I wonder at what point outright banning of such a name is appropriate. I mean, ugly and terribly outdated names might also be considered "difficult to live with" to some, but should they be banned just because they're ugly? I guess you could say I'm still undecided on this topic. Thanks for your comment!

Rochelle Frank from California Gold Country on November 16, 2018:

The “J” example reminds me of an (supposedly) true story of a kid named R B Smith. He always had a problem because people would want him to write out his full name which was R B. When he applied for his drivers license, he wrote “R(only) B(only) Smith. His license came with the name “Ronly Bonly Smith”.

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