Have you ever met someone who has one of those names that strikes you as odd? They introduce themselves and immediately you wonder, "What were their parents thinking?" As times change, so do baby names. What used to be considered a trendy name has now become old and boring. How many babies do you meet today named Ruth or Esther? Eighty years ago, they were all the rage.
In 2004, Gwyneth Paltrow caused a major controversy by naming her daughter Apple. It was certainly out of the norm but actually sounds pretty tame compared to Zolten, which is what Penn Jillette named his son in 2006. While celebrities certainly get the most attention for their unique baby name choices, they aren't the only ones to jump on the trendy name train.
Babies across the world are being named things like Isis, Imani, and Leif. To each their own, but when is a name actually considered so far out there that it's illegal? Well, that all depends on where you live. Here is a list of 15 illegal baby names, and, no, we are seriously not joking.
1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii
Eighteen years ago, a New Zealand couple legally gave their daughter this 11-syllable name. They actually got away with it for nine years until a family judge stepped in. In 2008, the judge made the 9-year-old girl a ward of the court so her "embarrassing" name could finally be changed. Kind of makes me wonder if the now-18-year-old has a promising career in hula dancing?
In Sweden, the rules are pretty strict. So strict that the law requires all first names be approved ahead of the birth. It states: "First names cannot be approved if they can cause offence or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name." I guess we know who they'd root for in a Batman vs. Superman showdown.
Denmark is another strict country when it comes to naming your child. You must chose from the 7,000 preapproved names or seek permission otherwise. I can't imagine anyone ever wanting to name their child after the dirtiest part of our body, and Denmark seemingly agrees, because it has specifically listed this orifice as a no-no.
4. Osama Bin Laden
A Turkish couple living in Germany wanted to name their baby after one of the worst terrorists in history. They were refused permission by German officials. German law states: "A name must clearly identify the child's gender and must not ridicule the child or be offensive." For more reasons than this one, this name would be considered offensive.
5. Mona Lisa
Portugal is yet another country to have strict naming laws, and it's outlawed Leonardo da Vinci's most famous work of art. It has an 80-page list of approved and rejected names, and there are over 2,000 names on the rejected list. I wonder what it has against the 500-year-old painting?
6. Christmas Day
The holidays might possibly be your favourite time of year, so why not celebrate all year long with a festive baby name? There's nothing wrong with that . . . unless you live in Mexico. Mexican laws won't stop you from putting a Christmas tree up in July, but they will make sure your bundle of joy doesn't end up with a name that's a little too joyous.
The French ban of this name has nothing to do with the context of the word, but more so with a specific character. A couple was prohibited from naming their boy this because of the character ñ (called a tilde). Apparently, the special character is unrecognized by the French language.
Australians seem to have beef with any name pertaining to a leadership position. Prince, King, Judge, Christ, and even Duke are also a no-go. In Australia, official titles are reserved for individuals with the actual titles.
9. Vendredi (Friday)
An Italian couple's love for Daniel Defoe's famous novel Robinson Crusoe landed them in some hot water. They were told by the courts that Vendredi, which translates to "Friday" in English, wasn't a fit name for a child. The couple wasn't happy and even threatened to name their next child Mercoledi, which translates to "Wednesday" in English.
10. Chow Tow (Smelly Head)
As parents, we are supposed to lend our kids every opportunity in life, and that includes not having an insult for a name. Chow Tow seems pretty innocent until it's translated into "Smelly Head" in Malay. Animal, insect, fruit, veggie, and colour names are also prohibited in Malaysia.
Iceland is so serious about its naming laws that it created a Naming Committee in 1991. If parents want to name their child something that is not included in the National Register of Persons, they must apply for approval and pay a fee. The name Harriet seems common enough, but since it cannot be conjugated in Icelandic, it is not approved.
A lot of countries ban symbols and numerals as baby names, and China is no different. One couple liked the way the "at" symbol sounded when pronounced in Chinese as "ai-ta," which they thought sounded similar to "love him." Court officials could not comply with their choice.
13. Sex Fruit
New Zealand is making the list twice with this strange and disturbing name, and I'm sure the child will be forever grateful to the government for making sure he didn't grow up with it.
It tastes delicious on fruit, bread, and even crackers, but French courts thought it was too sweet to become a little girl's name. In 2015, a couple wanted to name their daughter after the decadent chocolate spread, but were shut down. The judge stated it "might lead to mockery and unpleasant remarks."
He's part robot, part human, but that doesn't mean his name will fly in Mexico. In 2014, officials announced new laws were in place for naming your baby. They banned 61 names taken from 132 newborn registries, including Robocop. Peter Weller can't be too disappointed, because Arnold Schwarzenegger's "Terminator" was also outlawed as a baby name.