Unique, unusual and plain old WTF baby names have been trending for years now with notable VIBs, including Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin), Blue (Beyoncé and Jay Z) and, of course, Chicago (Kim Kardashian and Kanye West). But when it comes to bestowing a lifelong label on your bundle of joy, most countries (and provinces) have their limits. Some (like Sweden) employ lists of acceptable names for new parents to choose from, while others (like France) police questionable naming practices after the fact. Here are some of the banned baby names from around the globe, including a poison, a breakfast spread and…William.
In April 2017, a Welsh court ruled against this poisonous name selection. While the mother argued that naming her daughter after the chemical compound that killed Hitler could have positive connotations, the presiding judge (and court of appeal) disagreed.
Civil-registry officials in Sonora, Mexico, dis-Liked the social-media-inspired handle, one of 61 nontraditional names that Mexican officials nixed in 2014. Also on the list were Hitler, Virgin, Burger King and Harry Potter.
Two New Zealand parents temporarily lost custody of their daughter in 2008. At the hearing, the young girl complained that her absurd name was causing undue embarrassment. A judge agreed, saying the name “makes a fool of the child and sets her up with a social disability and a handicap.” The girl chose a new name, which wasn’t revealed to protect her privacy. Presumably, that means just Talula wasn’t an option.
Names are a tricky business in Iceland, where parents are expected to pick from an approved list of culturally cohesive names that includes Baldey, Bebba and Brá. Harriet may seem like a perfectly normal option in some countries (it ranked #72 for the UK’s most popular girls’ names in 2017), but two parents in Reykjavik were forced to choose an alternative name to get their daughter a passport.
A delicious hazelnut spread but not an appropriate baby name, according to a French judge who ruled that the unusual moniker “could only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.” Instead, a judge ordered that the child be named Ella. (No word on if Nutty was an option.)
It may be the name of a well-known songstress, but symbols of any kind are a no-no, according to naming laws in Ontario. What the #*%@?
Monarchy-inspired names are all the rage in North America (see Royal, Reign, Prince, Majesty and Duke) but less so in Australia, where it is illegal to name your child after any official position.
Last year, the Chinese government took a political stance against certain baby names, including Muhammad, Arafat and the aforementioned Jihad. Officials say that the crackdown is an attempt to “curb religious fervour” in Xinjiang (populated by Uighurs, a mostly Muslim minority group), while activists say that it’s politically motivated censorship.
In Portugal, parents may pick from an extensive 82-page list of approved names that doesn’t include certain super-traditional English options. Catherine is also out, but Caterina is OK.