What’s In A Name?

It’s a good thing that the Bard is no longer with us, or else his question might instead read:  “WTF is it with all these stupid names?” 

I’m not just talking about nicknames, where anything goes (e.g. Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino from Jersey Shores  — note:  unless you’re in the Mafia, the word “The” in your name is an infallible indicator of douchebaggery, see below).  Mostly, they’re a play on names — “Elizabeth” becomes “Biffy” and “Edward” becomes “Ned” — or else, in the case of men, they’re affectionate insults:  Booger, Shitbrain, Nostrils, Hairball etc.

First names, especially in the Afro-American community, seem to be in a tacit competition for grotesquery — Jamarcus, Al’iyaa, D’Ante, Shaniquita etc. — but even amongst the Lily-Whites, things have been getting out of hand.  Try to see how many variations you find, just in the ancient and beautiful name “Brittany”, for example;  I ran out of inspiration at six, after — I swear — “Bryttenee”.  (Rough guess is that neither of her parents are in possession of a PhD.)

The latest seems to be inside the rapper fraternity (not the brightest bulbs in the make-up mirror to begin with) who have names like Offset, The Weeknd [sic], 50 Cent and (my favorite name) 6ix9ine, and more.

In the old days — say, in the 1970s — first names actually meant something.  Girls were named after flowers (Rose, Daisy, Alison, Lily etc.), for example, and old names actually had a heritage (“Gwendolyn” means “beloved”).  My own name, Kim, was not even a name, but a title  (“Chieftain” in early Anglo-Saxon) which is why it can apply to both men and women.

These new naming “conventions” (if one could call them that) drive me scatty — literally, I sometimes feel like flinging poo off the balcony at random passersby — because they seem to be just random groupings of letters out of a Scrabble set;  but at the same time, I’m not suggesting some kind of control over name selection.  Just remember that it took the French until the 1970s to drop their restriction on first names — you could have any first name you wanted, provided that it was on the State-approved list of first names — and I’m certainly not supporting that silliness.

Know, however, that naming your little precious Tre’esha Taniqua will have an effect on her future career prospects.  And if all she knows is Ebonics, the “glass ceiling” will turn to concrete unless she becomes a groupie in 6ix9ine’s retinue.  Not that I care.  Someone  has to do that kind of work.


  1. I’ve long thought that after the negress spats out another offspring the head nurse in the birthing unit is left with the unworthy chore of converting animalistic gutteral reponses into legible words/names and that is why you see the nonsense you do now. Feral animal sounds converted to english.

        1. There is a difference between refusing to be “politically correct” and speaking in a way that makes it sound as if you’re a ignorant racist.

          The reasons for the variety and uniqueness are not well documented, but they are out there.

          It started off in the late 80s or early 90s in communities the Left had so thoroughly fucked up, and propagandized that the parents felt their children would never have anything of value of their own so they started to give them “unique” names–something that no one else had.

          No, it’s not smart, no, it’s not something that was really going to help them get along in the world, but when you don’t even have a bedroom to yourself having a name you share with no one else is at least something.

          There was also an intersection with the notion of the 60s and 70s “back to our roots” Africanism. Which was mostly made up of whole cloth because the truth was uncomfortable (Africa was *always* a mess, and white slave traders didn’t *capture* the slaves they traded, they bought them from Arabs and Africans).

          So these two things intersected to give create “unique” and non-western names.

          Add in to this expanded immigration from everywhere and a reduced or eliminated expectation of assimilation. My father’s family was from near the Balkans. Our original name was something approaching 20 letters long and not enough vowels. So it got dramatically truncated. My wife’s family was from another eastern European country. Her mother immigrated at 13 and her name was legally changed to Christine rather than whatever it was Over there.

          In the name of diversity we stopped doing that.

          Since the 1960s the clothing and music choices of the urban poor have been a driver of fashion. Afros, R&B, heroin, promiscuity and out of wedlock births (In 1965 the out of wedlock birth rate in the AA community was about 25 percent. In the European American community it was about 3 percent. By the early 2000s it was 75% in the AA communities and 25% in the EA communities and rising). Then in the 80s Hip-Hop and “break dancing” (which was more Puerto Rican thing) became popular and started to heavily influence urban and suburban (and even rural) pop-culture (Red-neck rappers. Shudder)

          Thus it is a somewhat rational if wrong headed approach to giving their children something special and unique in a world where the Left is telling them that because of the system they can never be anything of value at all, and the non-left racists are saying the same thing.

          Of course we can all just keep saying that, or we can attempt to understand why and correct.

          We gave our children traditional names with traditional spellings, and then educations and (attempted) direction in life because we believed that they can amount to something. If we had no hope of them being part of the middle/working class we…honestly, I don’t know what we’d have done because I can’t imagine that world. In the world I live in *anyone* with a highschool education and a willingness to work can live a commodious life, and shouldn’t be saddled with impediments to that.

          But *of course* I’d see it that way.

  2. I have friends in North Texas who are retired school principals and they have shared stories about parents who picked difficult names, a young girl named Anita when her last name is Dick and grade schoolers tease her about “I need a Dick” and along those lines when the last name is Head don’t name your son Richard.

    The strangest diversity name they shared was a young girl named “La-a” the 1st grade girl was upset when the teacher had trouble with her name call the roll and her mad momma had to come up to the school and scream at the principal about the stupid teacher who could not say “La Dash A” which was plain for everyone to see, “La-a”.

    1. Well, I went through school as “Dick” Hunter. That kind of thing builds character.

    2. Please.

      That joke is so old it got buried with my 89 year old grandmother 5 years ago.

      As if Africans understand punctuation, let alone how to use them as representative of sounds in English.

  3. When our newest grandchild was on the way, our daughter told us that she wanted to name her Tabitha, but was worried that some of her classmates might tease her, because that was the name of the daughter in Bewitched. I pointed out that: First, none of her classmates will have ever heard of that show, and Second, she’ll have at least three girls in her class named Daenerys.

  4. Most small business owners use names as a primary filter on hiring. It may be wrong, it’s probably illegal, but we all do it.

    Speaking of weird names, up here in Canada our Chinese immigrants often choose strange English given names for their kids. Napoleon Mah? Wolfgang Chang? Whut?

  5. My wife recounts the story of a newborn being named ‘Placenta’ Jones. Not much wondering where
    “momma” got that name from.

    1. When Mrs D was working in a grocery store, she pronounced Catrice exactly as you would expect someone whose native language to do. The owner of the name was not amused.

  6. The things that happen when you don’t regularly chlorinate the gene pool….

    Two things bug me.

    The first is the deliberately misspelled names, usually fobbed off on girls. “My little Ashleiglee won’t be like all the other little ‘Ashley’s”. No, you twat! She’ll have to spell her name EVERY SINGLE TIME SHE GIVES IT FOR HER ENTIRE LIFE. And if she decides to turn you over to the vet instead of a nursing home, I can’t fault her too much.

    The second is that there are a slew of perfectly good, traditional names that have just fallen out of style. The Social Security Administration keeps a list of the most common boys and girls names. Eliminate the top ten from consideration. Better yet, eliminate the top twenty. Then pick something traditional.

    1. We went traditional but not top 20. Our son is named first for My husband’s ancestor, and then for my father. Our girls, a flower and a grandmother.

      Not popular, not common, but not unfamiliar or new or weird or subject to misspelling.

      Like so many other boom-time matters, language is subject to profligate expenditure, until it becomes clear it must be reigned in for the sake of salvation and future prosperity.

      Words mean things, and people will remember it soon enough.

  7. My last job involved maintenance of engraving lasers, dye sublimation printing, embroidery equipment and such, all used in PZ (personalization) of various goods. This was almost entirely putting kids’ names on stuff. The crazy names and spellings in common use nowadays is just unbelievable.

  8. Odd name spellings and “fake French” names have been a running joke in Utah for decades. LaVell and DeLoy as men’s names (fake French), for example. I also know a Daryn and a Darin, as well as a couple of more normally spelled Darren’s.

    Lately there’ve been meme pics going around Facebook playing on the odd spellings. Titles are something along the lines of “If Utah Moms had named the ________”

    The one I’ve seen the most of is naming national parks, so you have a list like:

    Burysse Canyuhn
    Gurahnd Teetawn

    and so on.

    1. Mormons are second only to virtue signaling millennial mommies when it comes to this stuff.

      I have had a few pt jobs where I could take my kids with me – gym daycare, etc. in one day I remember having a Hayden, a Jayden, a Brayden, two Cay/Kaydens, a Shay, a Dayton, and four Ai/Ay dens.

      Sheesh Tadeusz and Andrewz are so passé.

  9. My mom (urban NJ native of Polish descent) has had an ongoing enmity with my dad’s family (rural upstate practically Canadian NY Franco-Prussian), down to the naming of children. They didn’t agree with their choice of my first name, sort of accepted my brother’s name, and agreed that my sister’s name was acceptable. Weirdbut true, yet ido think all around the traditional names we were given were a good thing, even if a point of temporary argument.

    My mom did point out to me that one of my uncle’s chose masculine names for his girls. The feminized forms were on the birth certificates, but everyday names were Nick, Ash, and Alex (all girls). I actually gave the matter thought when it came to naming our own children. Funny how those little things stick with you.

  10. I agree with you with names. it should be able to be pronounced and spelled/

    I’ve heard but never met the person named LeMongello (variation of Lemon Jello) and changing the emphasis on different syllables to get GoNOREA instead of the more commonly pronounced Gonnorhea or however that social disease is spelled

    My family is boring though since I have the same name as my father, and his father and his father. It might be scary that there are several more of me but at least my name is able to be pronounced and spelled properly.


    1. LOL It’s not really a new thing, at least among certain um, ethnic groups. I was watching a locally produced kids’ show forty-some odd years ago, they were having a Christmas party, IIRC the kids present were those of the TV station’s employees. Aunt Irene, the show’s host, was going around talking to each of the kids. She approached a shy little black kid, and asked his name. He replied, “Mah name Bordello”. I kid you not.

  11. Friend of mine that was in my Boy Scout Troop who is a high school teacher, had commented “I teach the AP classes and other advanced classed and all the kids in there have regular anglican names, even the black kids. When parents try to africanize a name for their kid, they think that they are doing something proud for their culture, but the truth of the matter is that they are dooming their kids to an underclass lifestyle, A name is everything. When you call your kid Ta’quan or something like that…he will associate with those with the same name type as he has and adopt the same lifestyle choices. Look at the police blotter, you rarely see a black guy with the name “Mike” in trouble…it is “Taquan”, “Tanisha”, Tananay or many variations in jail for petty crimes and they graduate to the serious ones later. These people are dooming their kids!” The thing is that the guy saying this stuff is black.

  12. Nothing says “future prison inmate” with as much certainty as an apostrophe in the forename.

  13. My pet peeve in naming kids, besides the obvious black crackhead creativity striving for a royal French sounding name, is the appropriation of surnames for girls’ first names – Logan, Parker, Campbell, McMaster, Connor, Porter, Slater, Cooper, Tyler, McKenzie – all names of young girls I’ve met over the past few years.
    That family name naming convention was once a fine thing, and common back in the day when parents honored their ancestors by bring the otherwise lost names forward. I have asked every one of the parents if the girl’s name was a family name, and I’ve yet to meet one that was. The current fad is just plain pretentious in my book.
    I wonder if it is a conscious or subtle hat tip to gender neutrality.
    Either way – barf.

  14. My pet peeve in naming kids, besides the obvious black crackhead creativity striving for a royal French sounding name, is the appropriation of surnames for girls’ first names – Logan, Parker, Campbell, McMaster, Connor, Porter, Slater, Cooper, Tyler, McKenzie – all names of young girls I’ve met over the past few years.
    That family name naming convention was once a fine thing, and common back in the day when parents honored their ancestors by bring the otherwise lost family surnames forward. I have asked every one of the parents if the girl’s name was a family name, and I’ve yet to meet one that was. The current fad is just plain pretentious in my book.
    I wonder if it is a conscious or subtle hat tip to gender neutrality.
    Either way – barf.

  15. My mental filing cabinet is showing age and disorganisation; but I think there is (or was) a Scandinavian country that had a list of Christian names that can be used to register a child. (Not on the list=not going in the Register).
    And then (like the Russians, and Indians and lots of others, you can call your child by a nick-name. e.g at boarding school we had a ‘pisser Will’ ).
    Makes a lot of sense to me.

    Which reminds me – the social welfare guy visited Ms Jones and her 7 little urchins, each of whom was called Darryl. Why are they all called Darryl? “Well when I want them all to come in for tea I yell ‘Darryl’ once and they all come”
    What if you want only a specific one to come in?
    “Easy – I use his Father’s last name”

  16. The stupidest child’s name I have ever came across was Harley Davidson, (both 1st names), I never met the parents. I also think Escalade deserves an honourable mention.

  17. Alas Mr. du Toit, I fear your message here on this page may never reach those who would be best served by heeding your advice.

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