American Baby Names Are Somehow Getting Even Worse

This piece on baby names by Drew Magary made me laugh out loud.  I sent it to my wife, and she laughed so hard she cried.


gawd. thank you so much, Steyyfinn.

Eric M. Jones.

I motion that "Weird Baby Names" be forever banned from freakonomics. Do I hear a second?


Isn't this a form of child abuse? Maybe not, as weird names become the new norm.

Doing an intake at my job I encountered a young woman [fudging here] Bcda. I made my best guess and she became angry and informed me that her name was B'key-da. Thanks -- a couple vowels would have helped.


Yes. Feel free to mix in a few vowels. They're here for you.


RHCP drummer recently baffled the audience by a new tattoo saying "Cash." Questions followed. Turns out, it's not the pecuniary kind: rather, it is the second name of his son who shares a birthday with Johnny Cash.


Our next door neighbor is a NICU & L&D nurse at a Houston hospital that sees a fair amount of inner city traffic and sees creative names (How many ways can one spell Katelyn?), laden with punctuation, almost daily. Not only do the parents not know how names are usually spelled, they don't know what punctuation is called. One mother got particularly irate when my neighbor didn't know an apostrophe is actually called, I kid you not, "a comma to the top" and saw fit to argue when told the correct name of the punctuation. She has gotten to the point that she simply asks the parents of the new baby to write down the name for her.


Exactly why we didn't use Katelynn, Caitlyn, Catlynn, Kaitlyn.. you get the point..


As a former teacher, this article really struck home. I have spent many Septembers carefully studying names and then practicing pronunciation (yeah, that kid with the last name Cockburn was SO happy when I pronounced it correctly--coh-burn). A few gems from the past include: Toshiba (I kid you not), and Mizebra (pronounced my-zebra). Try to find those on bicycle license plates. My other favorite is dual gender names--you don't know what you're gonna get til they walk in the door.


That article was amazing... Especially about the people that cannot spell. It is easier to accept a unique spelling versus a total misspelling that they don't figure out until years later. Punctuation really must go away; we are going to have to make legal guidelines for naming children in the US.

Caleb B

There are whole categories of yuppie white names: it's like a chose your own adventure book.

Names of professions: tanner, baker, archer, Parker

Old presidents: Jackson, Madison, Jefferson, (treasury secretary) Hamilton

Any surname period. I think the goal here is to make your kid sound like a law firm....Riker Logan Howe.


Giving your kid a waspy surname as their first name is the yuppie/swpl equivalent of a black couple giving their kid a faux-African name. I'm not generally a fan of measures described above such as requiring names to be approved by a judge, but this kind of cruelty has to stop.


My name is Shona. I love it. It is used in several cultures and is also the name of an African language and tribe.
5 letters, 2 syllables, pronounced phonetically in English. Still, I always need to spell it for others and help with pronunciation.
Heaven help children whose names are misspelled...I mean spelled uniquely. What is accomplished by naming a girl M'Kailla, other than guaranteeing that she will have her name misspelled and mispronounced 100% of the time?


exactly why we didnt' use Michaela because so many parents are spelling it with a k and a y as in Mikayla because of someone on tv whose parents didn't know how to spell using it..


The author makes a valid point but goes overboard with strong language. That reaction itself shows the mistaken concern that naming should adhere to some rules. Perhaps all parents should assign names until children reach adulthood and are allowed to accept or get alternative names. This will not cure the problem of weirdness but would save adults from taking the externalities from a very original name.


Next time, please warn us before you link to a site that is so downright nasty. I have some standards, even if Freakonomics seems willing to provide an audience for a bunch of people who need to demean and swear to make their point.


(my dream name for my hypothetical son: Lexx. Hypothetical daughter: Tai. I'll see myself out now...) Oh, wait. How about the rather hoity-toity names bestowed on mundane Amurican kids, example: there is a house behind us with a pool, and their LOUD foolish offspring are in it all summer, and all I hear all day besides "halp! Maaaa....he's drowning me! Halp!" is the mom bellowing: "Worthington! Stoppit! Jessamyn, help Callista! Buckingham, put on your shorts!" And that pool is full of fat little Bobby Hills! (or Rita Sues, or Dora Mays, or Stoshes, or Bubbas)...sorry to be cranky, but a fine moniker for a fat little tub makes me giggle...


Dobyrman isn't really my name... but I saw it in the article and liked it so much...


A friend of ours works in the Obstetrics ward of a city hospital. She is constantly amused (and appalled) at the names some people inflict upon their newborn. One woman announced that she wanted to name her new daughter Chlamydia. She had seen it on a poster in the hospital and thought it sounded very pretty.


Wow those ARE bad. I think the worst problem is that people who do NOT know how to spell are not checking with those who DO know how to spell in order to name their kids.. that and that the newest parents grew up on texting and the whole... 'younique' situation. Yes, I spelled it wrong on purpose. My kids have Irish surnames for first names but they are not uncommon or out there, just not common in our (midwestern, every boy is named Ben or Luke, all girls are Olivia and Sophie per the trend)... area of the US.

Btw, loved the parts of the freakonomics books on child naming. Lemonjello and Orangello, lol.