Alright, alright, we all know that Sally sells seashells by the seashore. But let’s be honest, Sally is a bore. Why can’t Quadriyahh sell seashells, or Cumulussa, Awkwafina, Alp, Young Sir Tweets? Now that’s a seashell selling party!
With the global population bigger than ever, it’s not really any wonder that people are seeking out any opportunity to express some individuality. For many, that uniqueness is one that precedes them, one that is heard, and one that is arguably their whole brand. It is their name — and New Zealand’s got something to say about it.
Parents have long been trying to set their children apart. Every child rearer out there believes their kiddo is special in one way or another. And how better to show off that singularity than with a super fresh name?
When it comes right down to it, however, there are billions of people out there, and many of them are already answering to some really extraordinary names. This puts some major pressure on mums and pops to get creative.
Keeping in mind that “creativity” is one of those indefinite terms we like to spat over, some couples believe that Benson and Hedges are the most adorable names for their new set of twins… others would strongly disagree.
Even though we’re sure those baby boys are as close as a pair of cigarettes nestled tightly in a fresh pack, the powers that be in New Zealand are calling smoke and mirrors. And they decided to do something about it once and for all.
See, New Zealand is already a pretty wacky place. There’s 9 sheep for every citizen, they refer to themselves as kiwis, and they even call their own country Middle Earth. Yet new parents are still managing to make their homeland even stranger.
In just the past few years, expecting kiwis have put forth some baby names that are truly unique. With contenders like 4Real, Juztice, and Lucifer you can forget gender reveals; today everyone’s in it for the Say My Name party.
That is until the New Zealand government decided to rein in the coocoo once and for all. In order to restore a bit more structure into the name game, officials gathered to create a list of 77 banned names.
Essentially, the list covers any name that would be offensive or embarrassing to the child. And the name naysayers didn’t even have to get too creative. The published list only included monikers that were explicitly proposed by parent.
“Number 16 Bus Shelter, Midnight Chardonnay, and V8” were among a few names Judge Rob Murfitt highlighted to the press. He believed these exemplified cases where parents chose bizarre and potentially harmful names for their children.
The list also refutes any name that would falsely assign a title or rank like, “Duke”, “Prince” or “Queen.” The same goes for naming a child after a number. Just because she’s your second-born doesn’t mean you can call her “2nd.”
Officials are even trying to cover cases that preceded the list. Just recently a family court ordered that a nine-year-old girl should have her name changed after her parents decided to call her “Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii”.
The new law has already barred names like “Anal” and “.” or “Full Stop” (can’t even make that up) from becoming indelibly attached to a couple of unlucky kids. Yet there are people that still find the list to be unconstitutional.
All the controversy really does make you think about what goes into a name. What is a name, after all, but your eternal address? A word that you must always answer to, a word, in most circumstances, that you can’t even refuse.
Our names truly are our identity, and our identity should be one we’re proud of. A name is something we are given to carry with us for our entire life. Something like that should be given with great care.
While it’s a valid point for parents to argue that this banned names list deprives them freedom of expression, it also, in a way, secures the child’s own freedom of expression.
If the child grows up to develop a zany identity that they feel deserves a name to go with it, why not let them choose that when the time comes? The one thing the list doesn’t preclude… is changing one’s own name.
Though there are plenty of special names out there, each one has a very specific meaning. As T.S. Elliot reminds us, our “deep and inscrutable singular Name” is quite deserving of a “rapt contemplation” after all.
Take the name Tennessee. Reese Witherspoon named her son Tennessee, which brought the name some popularity. The Native American name means “winding river,” but most people just think of the Volunteer state when they hear it.
Frederick: Okay, so this name may not be as unique as some of the others on this list, but the meaning behind it is a great one. The ancient Germanic name means “peaceful ruler,” and in a world with so much violence, we need more Fredericks!
Harper: In middle Dutch, this name refers to someone who plays the harp, which means parents who name their children Harper may, in fact, have hopes that they become a classical musician.
Charlotte: Prince William and Kate Middleton named their daughter Charlotte, a French name which means “freeman.” Of course, it’s also the name of everyone’s favorite literary arachnid.
Ophelia: Many people overlook the wonderful meaning behind this name due to it being associated with the tragic heroine of Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. However, the ancient Greek name means “help,” which is what makes the world go around.
Qui Ante: You would definitely not forget a person with this name. Not only is it super different, but it means “brave warrior,” in German, so the person who has it probably has a very strong and memorable personality, as well.
Ottilie: This is a name you don’t hear every day. The French name means “wealth,” so if you meet someone named Ottilie, it more than likely means they have a big bank account, or at least their parents hoped they would earn one.
Aislinn: This name originated in Ireland and it means “dream.” All parents dream their children will grow up to be happy and healthy, so what better moniker is there?
9. Rafferty: Meaning “abundance,” this Irish name is typically a surname. However, parents can flip the script and make it a first name if they want to. Let’s just hope a child with the name doesn’t grow up to be a hoarder.
Eilidh: This name looks pretty bizarre on paper. This Scottish name means “sun,” and it’s pronounced just like “eyelid.” This kind of makes sense since you have to squint your eyelids when it’s sunny.
Anthony: Many parents may have strayed away from this name after Tony Soprano from The Sopranos was putting hits out on people. But, the name, which finds its roots in Ancient Rome, means “priceless one,” and we all want to think of ourselves as priceless.
Astrid: Parents who name their children Astrid have very high hopes of their physical beauty standing out from the crowd since the Scandanavian name means “divinely beautiful.”
Elsa: This is another Scandinavian name, and it became super popular after the Disney film Frozen came out. It means “pledged to God,” so naming your kid this one has all sorts of religious connotations.
Jacob: When the Twilight movies were crushing box offices around the world, people were divided into two groups: Team Edward and Team Jacob. Those who went with Team Jacob were rooting for a man whose name refers to someone who “overthrows rulers.” The name comes from Ancient Greek.
Ruby: People who are into fancy jewelry definitely know what rubies are, and they probably have some in rings or necklaces. Naming your child this English name and it most likely means you think they’re a gem.
Jayne: There are plenty of women named “Jane,” but you don’t often find the spelling to have the letter “Y” in it, like “Jayne.” When spelled this way, it means “God’s gracious gift,” in ancient French.
Haven: Parents who don’t want to be so obvious as to name their child “Heaven” can simply remove the “E” and make it “Haven.” It sounds pretty, and this English name refers to the eternal place of beauty.
Tabitha: This name means “gazelle” in Aramaic. A mother and father who give their child this name probably want them to flow gracefully through life, much like the animal.
Isis: Although this name means “Egyptian goddess of the moon,” the terrorist group ISIS has, unfortunately, put a near-complete halt to anyone using it.
Tate: This Norse Biking name is a rather unique one that you don’t hear too often. It means “cheerful,” and aren’t those the kinds of people we strive to surround ourselves with?