Naming Your Baby…When Do You Go From Unique to Weird? Creative to Selfish?

January 8, 2013

Johnny Cash in his 1969 concert at San Quentin prison sang the song "A Boy Named Sue".

He proposed two ideas: that a child with a strange name could grow up to be a normal adult and that the parent who saddled the child with that name should not be criticized.

Forty-four years later this trend has accelerated and is completely out of hand!

Many parents have an obsession to find unusual and unique names for their children, believing that these different names express their child's individuality. Hence names of states like Arizona, or cities like Cleveland or months of the year like January, started becoming familiar. Although these names are not mainstream, they still land within the boundaries of unusual but not weird.

But the trend for unique did not stop here. The following are a few of the most unusual baby names of 2012 in the US.

  • Hippo
  • Jedi
  • Thunder
  • Espn
  • Google
  • Burger
  • J'Adore
  • Sesame
  • Hailo
  • Thinn
  • Leeloo


And on it goes as parents pair 2 strange names together with disastrous results.

  • Poppy Honey
  • King Arthur
  • Please Cope
  • Major Slaughter
  • River Jordan
  • Rasp Berry
  • Happy Day
  • Helen Troy

How much do these names affect the psychological wellbeing of our children? This question has been hotly debated for decades in study after study with no definitive answer. Does your baby's name determine their later success in life? Again, there are no conclusive answers, but there is some agreement that first impressions do count. Some bizarre names can initially be detrimental to a person, but ultimately the way they present themselves to the world wins out.

In the newspaper on January 4th, 2013, there is an article about a girl in Iceland called,"the girl with no name". She was called this because the name her mother gave her, Blaer, is not on the list of approved names for children in Iceland. (1712 male names and 1853 names for females) On all her legal documents she is referred to as "Stulka" or "girl". Her mother is taking the issue to the Supreme Court as she believes that it is a basic human right to be able to name your child whatever name you want unless it harms the child in some way.

Herein lies the quandary…when does a child's name cross that invisible line that identifies the name as unique to bizarre and the parents from creative to selfish?