With the excitement of the new baby’s arrival, it’s possible to get careless or simply carried away when it comes to naming. Here are some cautionary tips you may wish to take note of…
Does the name accidentally spell something rude? Avoid a lifetime of embarrassment and teasing for your child by checking out not just initials, but also possible short forms, such as Benedict Dover being turned into Ben Dover.
Nicknames and short forms
A toddler with a silly name (Lu-lu, Wubbly, Fuzzy) may be cute but it might become an embarrassment if it sticks through to the teenage years. With short forms of names, you either love them or hate them. Some parents are so against the idea that they pick a name that cannot be shortened.
New celebrity names
Before naming your child after the hot new celebrity from the world of reality television or soap serial, pause for a moment and consider that your child will carry the name long after the Chantelle and Nikki have fallen from favour.
While it is natural to wish that your child has great potential (‘nomen est omen’, meaning ‘name is omen’), naming him Einstein, Spielberg or Pele, is more likely to give him a complex and make him the butt of sarcasm. Being called Einstein and not being good at maths or a Pele who hates sports, just makes it doubly worse.
You are making it just too easy for the name-callers of this world by giving your child a name that can rhymed with more that two rude words. Names such as Rick and Buck are every school child’s worst nightmare.
You can’t really win in the naming game by playing it safe with a really popular name, as your child may end up sharing it with six or seven others. Your Jane or Jack may end up as being called Greene or Jones.
Trying to improve on the existing spelling in order to make it look more interesting by swapping and adding letters, only leads to confusion. It could lead to the child being seen as a bit odd or even as someone who can’t spell. Naancie, Jacqueiy or Kortny might look interesting to you, but the chances are that your child will not thank you for it.
Giving your child a name from outside your culture just because you have a fondness for it, is no guarantee that he/she will share the same feelings towards it. Besides, the name you’ve picked could have some unfortunate associations that you could be unaware of.
Parents of twins often feel that they need to give them similar names, such as Dennis/Denise or Nora/Dora, while others take the opportunity for humour, like Bill/Cash. The similar sounds could get confusing at times and the chances are that any intended joke will soon wear thin.
Where in the world
Think twice before following the new trend of names derived from city and country names (America, Adelaide, Brooklyn, Paris, Preston). Your ‘Africa’ could be nicknamed ‘South’ Africa if she’s short and there will be endless risqué puns on ‘entering’ and ‘exploring’.
All that is holy
While the everlasting Mary and Joseph will always be popular, you may wish to think again before choosing Cain or Delilah; always check the story attached to the name, it might not always be flattering.
Hero or zero
When choosing a historical name, just check whether it has a modern, less attractive connotation. Ajax, Braun and Cosmo are more to do with modern consumerism than history or heroism.
Branded for life
For those of you who are thinking of naming your child Prada, Armani or Timberland, remember that by doing so, you’ll be offering a lifetime of free promotion to a multinational consumer brand.
With a name like Joy or Hope the child may find it hard to live up to that specific emotion, leading to years of confusion and massive bills for therapy.