The Baby naming checklist

Written by    Last updated: March 8, 2007

Here’s a final run down of important points to consider before deciding on the name that your child will bear for the rest of her/his life:

Ground rules

Set down the names that are to be excluded from the list (example, former partners, pet hates, types of names).

Commemorative

Do you want to honour a relation, close friend or someone you admire?

Religion and culture

Does your belief system mean that you want to follow a spiritual or cultural practice for naming (example, naming after a saint or choosing a name from the holy scripture).

Gender

Is the name suitable for the gender of your baby or do you want a gender‐free name?

Style

Have you identified your naming style? Is it traditional, creative, popular, literary, or mystical?

Meaning

Have you checked what the name means both historically and in its current use?

Association

What image is conjured up by the name for most people?

Foreign

Does the name mean something unfavourable in another language? Try an internet search and check what comes up.

Middle name

Does it complement the first and last name? Would your child be embarrassed by it?

Initials

Do the initials make an acronym that is a word? Is it undesirable?

Nicknames

Are there any obvious nicknames for the name? Do you like the idea of nicknames? If not, choose a single syllable name that is difficult to shorten.

Puns

Does the name, initial, or a nickname combined with the surname become a pun? (example: Robyn Banks, I.P.Freely, Frank N.Stein, Ben Dover)

Spelling

Have you chosen the most common form of spelling the given name? What is the present trend in spelling the name? Is it with ‘c’ or ‘k’, ‘y’ or ‘ie’?

Pronunciation

Will a child be able to pronounce the name? Is it spelled the same way as it is pronounced?

The whole name

Does the name work well as a whole? Write it out in its several forms: initials/surname, middle initial, nickname/surname.

Sound and rhythm

Is there undesirable repetition of the same syllable or sound? Does it work when spoken as well as when it’s written?

Sharing

Are there any well‐known people with the same name? Will this cause a problem for the child when growing up?

Future use

Will the name be suitable for every stage of life? How will it sound to a Secondary school student? Will it suit a serious professional or a pensioner?

Popularity

Have you chosen a popular name that the child may have to share with several classmates? Where does it feature in the recent top 100 names?

Onomancy

If this is something you believe in, have you checked whether the name works well with astrological and numerological factors?

Testing on others

Have you taken note of what others think of the name? What was their reaction? Are their objections reasonable?  Have you asked a child and have they come up with an obvious nickname that you hadn’t thought of?

Getting used to it

Have you allowed enough time to see if the name grows on you or whether it becomes stale within a few weeks?

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