What’s In A Name?

This has been a while in the making. I’ve been noting, in various arenas, names of babies and kids, and I think we’re almost in a state of crisis. I decided to publish this today after reading an article about how the name Jennifer is now terribly outdated because every other girl born in 1970 to 1984 is named Jennifer. I can attest to that. That’s why when I was pregnant with my first child, and my husband lobbied extensively for the name Kaitlyn (or Caitlin, Katelyn, Kaitlin, Catelynn, Katelynne, Kaetlyn, etc.), I was vehemently opposed to it. We eventually decided on Anna. Four times. Never got to use it.

So I implore parents-to-be, go look at a kindergarten yearbook, and see how many other “Maddies” will be in your daughter’s school. It was original 15 years ago, now it’s a Jennifer waiting to happen. Beware.

Here’s some more lunacy in the baby naming world.

THE COMBO PLATTER – Can’t decide between two names, or feel like one is overused or obvious? Nothing some simple arithmetic can’t solve.

Mariah – M = Ariah
Christina + AnastasiaChristasia

Jasmine + Kathleen = Jazleen
Jasmine + Lynn = Jazlynn
Jeremiah – em = Jeriah
Jerry + Harrison = Jerrison
John + Andre = Johndre


Aidan is a strong Irish name, not used much until it became in vogue a few years ago. I think it’s a great name, or was. Now it’s been bastardized to the point of no return. Aayden, Aeidon, Aidyn, Adyen. Then you have all the derivatives of it. Pick a letter to throw in front of it, and then spell it a myriad of ways, and you’ll have the starting roster for any tee ball team in the United States. Braeden, Caden, Graydin, Hayden (which actually pre-dates most of the other ‘aydens,’ and is charming, but unfortunately falls into this category), Jaedyn, Kaidan, Paidynn, Raiden. For the love of God.


Bentley – Really makes me hope he/she never drives anything better than a Ford Focus.
Chesney – Not a country music fan, so I don’t even begin to comprehend this. Especially for a girl.
Hoss – Wondering if these parents watched Bonanza, and intentionally named their son after a not-so-bright, husky cowboy, or if they just like gruff sounding monosyllabic names that when pronounced sound vaguely hemoptysic.
Jedi – Aww, this dad finally met his soul mate at Comic Con, and they created spawn who will also never be able to date women in the real world.
Magnum – Are we referencing champagne, condoms, or P.I.? Actually it doesn’t matter, they’re all equally douchey.
Neo – See Jedi.
Odin – Naming your child after an all-powerful Norse god seems risky, if not presumptuous. What if Odin ends up as the 98-pound weakling? The name then just adds insult to injury.
Phoenix – Arizona, mythical bird, Harry Potter and the Order of, or River? We know it’s not Joaquin.
Tesla – If you named her after the electrical engineer and inventor, Nikola Tesla, I’ll cut you some slack. But we all know the name came from the 80s hair band of the same name.

PHONETIC SPELLING – Can’t trust your trailer trash relatives to correctly pronounce the refined and dignified Catherine correctly? Sound it out. Catharyn. Or Avalynn. Cheyenne too far away for your urban relatives to recognize? How about Shi’anne? Ain’t no way they fuck that up.

SCRABBLE NAMES – Random (I’m surprised that’s not on the list.) words that people have usurped into names for their child.

Banjo – Anyone else thinking of the dueling banjos scene from Deliverance right about now?
Blaze – Another name you won’t find on a CEO’s door.
Cadence – Sorry, but all I can think about is marching band. Someone should have bought these parents a dictionary.
Dazzling – Oh hell no.
Justyce – This may fit into the next category as well.
Nova – The nuclear explosion of a dwarf star, the PBS science show, the crime victim support organization, or the bitchin’ 70s Chevy model car?
Ransom – Seems like that’s inviting trouble.
Rip – Not necessarily new. But it is new for a GIRL. Not to be crude, but I think this may be a passive-aggressive way at getting back at your daughter for a rough delivery.
Serenity – That’s a name for a sailboat, not a kid. Come on people. Serenity now.
Wood – These parents have obviously never taken a field trip with 8th grade boys. I’ll leave it at that.

THE STRIPPER-GRAM – Names that ensure that your baby daughter will someday work for an establishment with a name like Xanadu, The Pink Sapphire, or any type of Cabaret. Or at the very least, they are names that will likely never appear with titles like CEO, Your Honor, Professor, Senator, or M.D.

Destinii (or really any name ending with a double “i”)




Borron – Quick, what just popped into your head? Moron, amirite?
Karna – PLEASE let the middle name be Vore.
Mercury – Might as well just keep going with Venus, Eartha, Mars, etc. Hopefully they’ll stop before Uranus.
Neveah – This has been around for a few years. “Heaven” spelled backwards. Someone thought they were being so clever and unique until the Bible banging evangelicals jumped all over it. I have yet to meet a Neveah in the wild. If I ever do, I have no earthly idea how to pronounce it. These people are obviously too young to ever have an older cousin play the Beatles White Album backwards for them on a turntable. I’m glad the whole reversing words idea hasn’t caught on. Can you imagine? Enigami, Ecaep, Evol, Mossolb, Nede, Susej, Wobniar, Ynomrah
Ryker – Maybe it’s just because I’ve watched too much Law & Order over the years, but doesn’t everyone know that if you commit a crime in New York City you’re remanded to Rikers Island if you can’t make bail? Might as well go for the trifecta, and name the siblings Folsym and Levynworth.
Season – Come on. You’ve got Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter to choose from. Make a damn commitment.
Yomaris – Yo, Maris! Git down with yo’ bad self.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2012


11 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. Loved this!! We are i the long process right now to pick out a ame for our baby girl. THis just hit home with me. Awesome!!

  2. I very much agree. Perhaps those parenting classes that hospitals offer should include a “How to name your baby” section. 😉

    Only, I’d just like to point out that “Chava” is an old Hebrew name, and not at all “made up”, in that sense. Most people mispronounce it, however. (The ‘ch’ is not pronounced as in ‘cheese’, it’s more like a hard ‘h’. The actual sound is hard to describe.)

    But I digress. Parents really need to realize that names are something that will effect (affect?) their child for the rest of their life.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s