STFU Parents: Crazy Baby Names

It’s hard to say when exactly parents started focusing on giving their children unique (or “yoonique”) names, but it seems that the trend has completely spiraled out of control. Ask anyone the craziest baby name they know, and chances are they’ll say something you’ve never heard before. A couple of days ago I asked STFU, Parents readers this question on Twitter and Facebook, and the names ranged from Female (pronounced Fem-AH-lee), to Jazzman, to siblings named Tamara, TaDae, Yesterdae and Tonite.

I think the biggest change I’ve noticed with baby names in recent years is that nowadays a name can be considered unique based on multiple factors: overall wackiness, pronunciation and “yoonique” spelling. Back in the day, if parents wanted their child to have a unique name they just came up with something that didn’t exist or that sounded original. But now if you ask parents what their baby’s name is, they might say something that sounds traditional like “Kevin” but the spelling is actually “Quybhin.”

I receive so many emails on this subject that I’ve decided to devote today’s column to baby names. Say what you want about the trend, but it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So buckle up and enjoy the ride as we take a look at some of the most common types of unique names.

1. The Awkward Spelling

When you have to tell people right off the bat how to pronounce a name, you know the kid is doomed for life.

2. The Competitive Namer

It’s always amusing when parents think they came up with a name first, especially if they treat baby naming like a sport.

3. The Crowdsourcer

Some parents already have a list of semi-crazy names but need their friends to chime in to help determine which one works best! My vote’s on Adorabella. WTF?

4. The “Your Kids’ Names Are So Crazy That I Can’t Even Take You Seriously” Namer

Separately a couple of these names are not “so bad.” But all together they crack me up. These moms could be talking about the apocalypse and I wouldn’t even notice because I’m so distracted by their kids’ names. I mean, “Kenzly,” really?

5. The Yooniquest Of The Yoonique

This is a mishmash of posts that a submitter compiled from a group wall on Facebook. It’s like a symphony of everything that’s wrong with baby names today. Parents, sometimes unique can be a good thing, but most of the time it just makes people cringe.


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  • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

    Bwa ha ha ha ha ha! I’m a big fan of giving children names that WON’T make them look like morons in their adult life! Old fashioned & more traditional names are quite beautiful & a good solid name for a boy is a good choice so when he is a man he won’t have to live with a name like Talon or Adonis!

    We chose family names for our girls (Belle & Matilda). I love both names but I sometimes worry that Belle might be too cute for an adult woman. I guess if she does decide it is not serious enough for her later in life sha can choose her own name!

  • Skye Belle Matilda Brand

    I saw the following in the birth notices of the Newcastle Herald when I was pregnant with dd1…

    DYMOND SPARKLZ (can’t remember the last name) sister for JETT STEELE & TEXUS (yes, with a U) STARR.

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  • ScotsGirl

    An acquaintance named her daugher “TigerLily”. WTF? I can understand if a name is used because of family history, but can’t even imagine where THAT came from. I am wondering if the next one will be named Marigold? My husband and I went with Lucas (Luke) Ivan for my son and Tegan Faye for our daughter… Ivan is my father’s middle name and Fay is his mother’s middle name. He wanted a “strong” name for our son and I wanted a traditional Irish name for our daughter.

  • Name Grumpy

    I have to say, creative names are a pet peeve of mine. Not that my opinion is particularly important, because I’m not having kids, but I get really judgmental about strange name choices. Here are my stories . . .

    I used to live in Detroit. My boyfriend there told me a story of a past girlfriend who worked in the Detroit school system. There were a number of boys in the school named Male (pronounced Mah’-lay) and girls named Female (Feh-mah’-lay), which I think are actually rather lovely. She had one of the Females in her class, and in parent-teacher conference, asked the mother how she thought of the pretty name. The woman replied, “Oh, I didn’t name my baby. The doctor named my baby.” As in, when she went to the nursery, the card on the bassinet said “Female Smith” (or whatever the last name was), and *she thought the doctor had named her baby.*

    In another story, a girl in her class had the first name of Vagina. That year they were doing biology and learning biological names for genitalia. She called the woman’s mother and said she was uncomfortable calling her daughter Vagina all year, and especially worried that the girl would get teased after the biology classes. The mother responded, and I quote, “Oh, you white people, always thinking sick. I just heard it at the doctor’s office and thought it sounded pretty.” (Never heard it before the doctor’s office!?!?!?) The teacher demanded the woman pick another name for her to use, and they settled on the girl’s middle name.

    I was just at a Christmas party chatting with a doctor. He said during his residency he saw all sorts of wackadoo names for babies, but the winner was La-a, pronounced “La-dash-a” and the mother would say, “The dash isn’t silent.” I guess “Lahyphena” didn’t have the same ring.

    I come from a white Irish Catholic family on one side, and they love to make up names–well, they say they get them from an “Old Celtic Names” book, but please, just because something is written down, doesn’t mean it’s a real name. I won’t name too many, so the family won’t possibly find this post, but we have a Braillyn (pronounced bray’-lynn), among others. It’s embarrassing.

    I teased my brother and sister-in-law when they were pregnant. I said, “Okay. We’re white people. Black people get to pick any name they want. If you can’t trace your family history back very far, that’s your right. But we’re white. We only get to pick from names that have existed with their normal spellings. If your kid goes to the mall, and there’s a kiosk with keychains with names on them, your kid’s name has to be on it, spelled that way. Okay?” They replied, “No problem. We’re with you.” My nephew’s name? Lucas, with a family surname as a middle name, same middle name as his father. Perfect.

    ~And lastly, for those of you who don’t believe weird names are correlated with negative effects later in life, read the chapter in Freakonomics, which found through statistical analysis of a public Californian database that the more unusual the name and the more unusual the spelling, the poorer and less educated the parents. With an exceptionally high significance. Just sayin’.

    • Name Grumpy

      Oh, and I forgot one more favorite. I grew up in Wisconsin, which has a lot of Native American-named towns, one of which was Waukesha, prounounced “wah’-keh-shah.” In my Detroit dorm, I was writing a letter to someone in Waukesha, and my friend from across the hall, TyEase, saw the letter and said, “Oh, you know a Waukesha, too?” (Pronounced “Wah-kee’-shah”). I explained it was a town.

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  • Miranda

    In regards to #2: My chosen pseudonym for writing was Adalia for ages, although I don’t use it anymore. So HA, yes, someone else CAN and DID come up with it on their own! What now?!

  • Court Preuss

    OK with regards to #1, sometimes people can’t pronounce the simplest names. Like if I have a daughter her name is gonna be Carys Louise. Carys is a common Welsh name so I’m sure here in the good ol’ USA people will be asking me often how to say it. I’m OK with telling people how to say it but I’m not bragging when I do lol. It’s not the easiest to pronounce but it isn’t a made up YOONIQUE name either. It’s pronounced CARE-IS BTW :p

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