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Baby Name Advice

baby name advice

Advice on naming your baby


The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word advice as follows:

guidance or recommendations offered with regard to prudent future action

The key word in that definition which will set the tone for this article is prudent.  Before naming your baby, don’t just ask “do I like this name?”  You should also ask the question “is giving the baby this name a good idea?”  The truth about baby names is that millions of people make mistakes when naming their child.

But who am I to say that?  Isn’t it up to the parents?  How can there be a right and wrong way to name your child?

Well, let’s begin by pointing out that Hazell Nutt, Joe King, Terry Bull, Ivy Plant and Esther Munday are all real names.  These names are wrong in a very obvious way, but bad and/or dodgy names aren’t always obvious (to the parents, at least) or funny.  I once met a girl called Chevonnah-Levi Neville.  A boy I went to school with has called his son Giovanni McCluskey.  Jokes aside, these innocent victims will be mocked and discriminated against throughout their lives.

In Germany, Italy, Sweden, Portugal and Iceland, parents have to choose their baby’s name from a pre-approved list.  Before you start feeling sorry for their restricted options, bear in mind that there are thousands of names on these lists and most parents narrow their choice down to less than 10 names very quickly.  I wholeheartedly agree with this approach.

It is my firmly held belief that if a name holds the child back in some way, the name was a mistake regardless of whether the parents like the name.  It’s a tough old world out there, and it’s a lot tougher if your first name is Chardonnay or if your initials spell something rude.

Consider the following facts:


  1. Names which are easily recognisable and easier to pronounce are favoured by recruitment professionals.  Mr Henry Morgan will walk into an interview on a level playing field, whereas even if Ms Crystal Glass manages to get an interview, she will face an uphill battle to be taken seriously.
  2. Uncommon names are - rightly or wrongly - associated with juvenile delinquency.  Even though the most common names in the criminal records broadly reflect the most common names in the country, people tend to think Blaze is far more likely than Beth to end up with an ASBO.
  3. People with middle names are generally assumed to be more intelligent, which may explain why authors and academics use their middle initials so often.
  4. If your name sounds noble or regal, then statistically you are more likely to work in a managerial position.  People will more readily take direction from Charlotte than from Charlene.
  5. According to a massive study by LinkedIn, who analysed over 100 million user profiles, men with single-syllable first names such as Bill, Mark, Geoff or John are largely over-represented in CEO positions.  

To summarise, please remember that a child’s name is important.  Don’t give a child a name just because you like it.  Make sure the name isn’t associated with negative stereotypes and that it isn’t going to hinder the child in any way.  Isn't it far better to choose a name which is already associated with some positive stereotypes?  Isn't that worth sacrificing a bit of uniqueness for?


For 40 names inspired by nature, read this article.

For 20 unusual biblical names, read this article.

To see the baby name trends for 2018, read this article.

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