Prepare to question everything you thought you knew about the way parents are naming their children these days. It is with a good deal of sadness that we bring you the latest batch of offbeat, wacky, and terrible new baby names that parents chose this past year. The names have been collected by the Social Security Administration and to qualify on its list of extended baby naming data, at least five children had to be given the name in a given year. We’re talking names like Demon, Khaos, and Prodigy which all appeared on the list. That means there are no fewer than 5 babies named Demon in the US today. Demon!
Now, you might want to get inside these parents’ brains but the SSA has no such data on the thought process that got them to this point. While we may not have answers, we do have plenty of questions about these wild appellations and how they ended up on several babies’ birth certificates this past year. Explore these strange names with us and brace yourself, it gets weirder than you could ever imagine!
We think the appeal of the name Arson is the fact that it sounds like “our son.” We wonder if parents understand that the name is also a word for the criminal act of deliberately setting property on fire. Despite that, the name went to over five baby boys.
Charity, Felicity, and Serenity are all virtue names for girls. The great thing about this class of names is that it highlights various virtues. We do not know what parents count Vanity among them, but the name went to at least five baby girls. We get that parents want to establish new virtue names but we just humbly ask that they actually be about positive attributes.
Matrix is a baby name that has been given to several baby boys in the US. The word is of Latin origin and means “womb” but in practical terms, we tend to associate the word with the meaning “an orderly, mathematical arrangement.” It might be the name of a hit sci-fi movie but that does not mean it makes for a great name.
No fewer than five girls were named Minnow in the most recent naming data. Minnow! We believe the baby name is inspired by a young girl character in the Netflix movie Love and Monsters. A name for a small fish, Minnow might seem like a contemporary of names like Minnie, Willow, and Marlowe but it is clearly not like the others.
Amillion, yes the compound of “a million,” was given to new fewer than five baby boys. It rides a wave of offbeat compound names like Myking or Alegend. Further, baby names like Million and Billion are even more popular! We suppose if you are a parent with eyes on the prize, this name could be a reasonable option.
Another name for boys to make the list is Furious. Intense and aggressive, this baby name means “extremely angered.” For most parents, those emotions are not top-of-mind following the birth of a child we suppose if it was an exceptionally difficult birth, that it could be appropriate.
Disney turned Maleficent into a name in 1959, when it was used for the “Mistress of All Evil” in the animated film Sleeping Beauty. Before that, maleficent was a word meaning “causing harm,” the antonym of beneficent. The name first began making the SSA’s list following the 2015 film release of the same name. Parents, don’t.
Chemistry has never ranked in the US but you better believe the misspelled version, Khemistry has recently gone to no fewer than five baby boys. We assume that Khemistry takes its meaning from the discipline, chemistry, which is the study of the properties and behavior of matter. What’s next Byology and Physix?
Theory has emerged as a rare, but nonetheless a baby name for several American girls. The English word theory is derived from a Greek root and means “speculation” or “idea.” No, parents could not be bothered to go with something a bit more romantic like the Italian, Teorama, Theory it is.
Nope, Christopher, a name meaning “bearer of Christ” was a step too far from the holiness of just plain Christ. The surname of Jesus himself has been used as a first name consistently since records began. It has never been given to more than 70 babies in a given year. We think this is a pretty incredible moniker for a little boy to shoulder.
Sparkle hit its peak of popularity in the 1970s for baby girls but it staging a comeback today. Disco is back, baby! Sparkle feels like a name best suited for an adult performer or even a pet bird. We do not know what is compelling parents to use this descriptor as a baby name.
Lucifer is a name that is given to a number of baby boys each year, so it should come as no surprise to you that Demon is also a baby name in use now. Not Damon! Oh, heaven forbid, it’s baby Demon for a handful of new parents out there. We’re not sure who wants to invite such negative energy into their homes but we imagine this one does not stay on those birth certificates for too long.
Indica is a species of marijuana and it has been used as a baby name for girls since 1992. It’s the calming variety that, we suppose, offers some sort of insight as to why this word would be used as a baby name. Indica is a word derived from Latin and it means “from India.” We suppose with public opinion around marijuana changing this was only bound to happen.
Prodigy is a baby name for boys now. This name feels like parents are just setting up their child for disappointment. There are many child prodigies out there, but how many of them have had this name? We’ll let you do that complex math but we feel that this name is truly a step too far.
You did not think we would share the name Indica without the name Sativa, did you? In the most recent data, Indica was a more popular choice than Sativa but it was still used for no fewer than 12 baby girls last year. Sativa is considered the more energizing strain of marijuana which makes it a zippier sister to Indica.
Are you tired yet? America, what are you doing? Ruckus? Ruckus is a baby name for boys now, we guess. Ruckus which is a word that means “disturbance” has landed on several birth certificates. It is one of the many chaotic names parents are giving to boys others include Wrecker, Lawless, and Rowdy. Get it together, parents.
“Brightness of light” defines the word brilliance and parents have seen fit to apply this word as a baby name for girls. We suppose it is one of the more tame options to land on this list but, like Prodigy, this name really does like it is setting up a baby to fail.
We think that the rapper Logic has inspired parents to name their children with a word that means “reasoning.” Logic was born Sir Robert Bryson Hall II, and his original stage name was Psychological. Why aren’t parents going for the original stage name? If you’re going with Logic why not go big or go home with Psychological?
Disney has been used as a baby name for girls since the 1970s. The surname of Walt is of French origin and means “from Isigny.” Disney has made some iconic movies and is an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate. Are Netflix and Hulu next on the horizon?
Rooster is a colorful animal name that five boys have to deal with for the rest of their lives. The word actually began use in America by the Puritans who were put off by some of the more suggestive names for a male chicken. Any parent who chooses this name for their son is destined to have a consistently early riser on their hands.
The menorah is a widely recognized symbol of Judaica. The word refers to any Judaic candelabra but is commonly associated with the occasional nine-branch candelabra used during Hanukkah. While not a traditional Jewish baby name, we assume that the name is now being given to Hannukkah babies. The “Norah” ending works well as a nickname, we’ll give it that.
A title given to a supreme deity in monotheistic religions, God as a name, feels more like a burden than a blessing. With names like Divine and Saint on the rise, we suppose that this name was only the next best conclusion. Praise Him!
Paradise is a word derived from Ancient Greek and Iranian and later Latin, meaning “park enclosure.” We know that this name is associated with an idyllic place or state of being. Along with Eden and Heaven, Paradise has been a low but steady baby name for girls since the 1990s.
Awesome is a baby name for boys now, okay? The word which means “extremely impressive” is another one of the baby names that really does not leave much room for failure for your child. Yes, you may think your newborn is awesome but you don’t have to use it as a name.
Another name fitting for an adult performer, Delight feels like a name that is best chosen instead of given. The name does have history, in Greek myth, as an appellation for the daughter of Eros and Psyche. We really wish that parents knew that more established names like Noemi, Tirzah, and Delise all share the meaning “delight.”
At least it’s not vodka, right? The word whiskey was derived from the Gaelic uisce beatha, meaning “water of life.” That sounds lovely but when put to use as a baby name, we are not so sure. You never want to give your child a name that gives them a reputation that proceeds them. These name sounds rather washed up and in need of a “vacation.”
Cinderella is girl’s name of French origin meaning “little ash-girl.” Now, this name works well in a fairytale but we are not so sure it is destined for greatness in real life. We suppose with Disney and Maleficent out there, it is only natural for this Disney Princess name to charm some parents.
The overly macho Rambo is a choice! We like the idea of the nickname “Bo” but that’s about all the good we can see for this appellation. But, Sylvester Stallone fans, eat your heart out.
Yes, a word meaning “animation” in Japanese and English is now being used a baby name for girls. Anime is almost right as a name with the Mae sound built-in but something about it just feels odd. Would you name your baby Cartoon? Comic? Media?
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Finally, we leave you with Notorious. Notorious debuted on the charts for boys in 1995, at the height of The Notorious B.I.G.’s career. The word this name comes from means “infamous.” Other options include, Infamy, Reputation, and Celebrity. The world’s your oyster, new parents!
There you go! Now, you know some of the wildest baby names that parents are choosing today. There is no wrong way to name your baby, we just ask that you take a moment to sit with your decision before pulling the trigger on a rather offbeat name. Think about how it will color your child’s life! If you liked learning about these names, you might also like to learn about the most polarizing baby names parents are choosing or deciding not to choose today!
Discover the Most Polarizing Baby Names for American Parents Below:
Clearly, the name Adolf is a terrible idea. The appellation was once mildly popular in the US, in the 1920s. But, the brutal dictatorship of Adolf Hitler should really turn any parent off from the name. Last year, not a single baby was given the name in the US. However, some 100 boys were given the Spanish form of the name, Adolfo, and fewer were given the much older variant Adolphus. We think it’s wise to just steer clear of this one altogether. Yikes!
Adonis already sounds like a larger-than-life name that’s a lot for a little boy to shoulder but that’s not stopping new parents today from choosing it for their sons. Adonis ranks in the top 500 most popular names for boys today (it ranks as the 233 most popular name for boys). But, we think some folks are right to question this name.
In Greek mythology, Adonis is the personification of the idealized male form, one of the most beautiful male figures of antiquity. According to myth, Adonis is the handsome young lover of Aphrodite. You could see why that could make this name problematic for a boy who grows into just an average man.
Azriel might sound fantastic thanks to that zippy Z-sound and many parents agree. This name for boys landed in the US top 1000 names for boys last year. The name is of Hebrew origin and means “God is my help.” But, we urge parents to look deeper into this name as it belongs to the Angel of Death in Hebrew and Muslim traditions. Not, the most positive connection!
Bambi names a beloved boy deer in the classic Disney animated film of the same name. However, the name has always gone to girls in the US. The name is of Italian origin and means “baby girl.” Surprisingly, the name was mildly popular here from the 1950s-1980s. It took several years for the name to catch on following the 1942 release of Bambi, but for better or worse, parents thought the name was a good idea.
What is wrong with the name Blair? Well, the name hails from Scotland where it is only used as a name for baby boys and that’s true for the UK writ large. Only in the US will you find the name Blair a popular choice for girls. So, that’s one reason folks are not crazy about this name.
Other factors that have made this appellation a polarizing one include associations with the horror film, The Blair Witch Project as well as the controversial, former Prime Minister Tony Blair. There are far worse on this list but we get why this one has folks divided.
The name Bodhi has exploded in popularity in the US over the last several years thanks to a string of celebrity parents who have chosen this baby name. Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green, Teresa Palmer and Mark Webber, and Nikki Reed and Ian Somerhalder all named their babies Bodhi.
It makes our list of controversial baby names because the name was adopted from Buddhist tradition with, what seems like, little deference to its meaningful use in Buddhist culture. “In Buddhism, bodhi is a state of enlightenment, awakening or insight gained by the Buddha while sitting under a sacred fig tree in Bodh Gaya, India circa 500 BCE,” according to Nameberry.
We get that the name sounds great but perhaps a more appropriate choice would be the spelling, Bode, to make a distinction between the two names.
Folks have very strong feelings about the name Cohen. We don’t make the rules! Cohen is traditionally a Jewish surname that comes from a Hebrew word for “priest” and originally denoted members of the kohanim, important Jewish religious leaders of direct descent from Aaron. The name is particularly sacred in Judaism and so it angers some when the name is used by any person as a given name.
The name currently ranks as a top 500 name for boys in the US. We have The OC‘s Seth Cohen to thank for the rise of this name in the US. So, yeah, maybe parents should learn more about the importance of this name in the Jewish community before appropriating it as a given name.
Just a thought: Let’s not use a name that glorifies a bloody Civil War that threatened the very identity of this country. Dixie names the ten states that succeded from the union thrusting the country into its darkest hour. The states succeeded because they wanted to retain the ability to own and trade enslaved people. The Civil War often gets framed as a “states’ rights” issue but we urge you to do a little more reading if you believe that. Dixie appeals to those who are after a “cute” “Southern Belle” style name. To many, this feels problematic (to say the least).
Dixie originated as a slang term for a ten-dollar bill used in French-speaking New Orleans. You don’t want to name a baby after a ten-dollar bill, do you? After spending decades off of the popularity charts, this name returned in 2007 and has had a spotty showing since then.
If you’re going to choose violence, go ahead and go with Gunner. Yes, this name for boys might be related to a Norse baby name (Gunther) that means “bold warrior” but a name that implies that your baby is a “gunman” might not be a safe bet. We are clearly not with the consensus among new parents who are choosing this name in droves today. It’s currently a top 500 pick for boys in the US. If you love this baby name, by all means, go with it. Other options that could appeal to Gunner-loving sensibilities include Cannon, Beretta, Glock, Avtomat Kalashnikova (AK for short), Bullet, and Barrel.
Harvey was a baby name for boys enjoying a renaissance in the US until the devasting Hurricane Harvey left catastrophic damage across the American South. Prospects for this appellation were also not helped following the many sexual abuse allegations against film producer Harvey Weinstein. Ultimately, he became a convicted sex offender. Harvey is a name of French origin that means “battle worthy.”
Is Honey too sweet for a name? Parents in the UK do not think so. Following celebrities like Kate Winslet and Jamie Oliver who both gave the name to their daughters, Honey exploded in popularity across the pond. In fact, it’s a top 500 name for girls there today. In the US, parents are beginning to warm to the idea of this name but time will only tell if we follow the English trend.
A lot of detractors feel that Honey will feel inappropriate and too intimate for professional and educational settings. Imagine a boss calling your daughter Honey or even a professor. If that does not seem awkward to you, Honey is likely A-okay in your book.
In the UK, India has long been a posh choice but it is not without controversy. Due to the history of imperialism and colonization (and exploitation) of India by Britain, you could understand why using India as a baby name could be problematic, especially for families who have no real ties to the country or its rich culture. In the US, the name has been on and off the charts over the last several decades.
There is no denying that India sounds beautiful but it is likely inappropriate for most to use it as a name just because it sounds “exotic.”
We know what you are thinking: What is a classic, evergreen, timeless name like James doing among controversial baby names? This baby name is controversial for a different reason than many on this list. James has been given new life as a name for baby girls after centuries of the name being used solely for boys. It’s rubbing some folks the wrong way.
Following the decision by Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds to give the name to their daughter, other celebrities and normal folks too jumped on the trend. Many have used James as a middle name for their daughters as well as a first. Some folks feel like the only traditionally male names are given to girls while the opposite never happens for girl names for boys. Could that be an example of misogyny in our culture?
Jemima was last popular in the US in 1893. It’s been over 100 years since the baby name was widely given. Why? The immediate association for most Americans is Aunt Jemima branded syrup and pancakes. The marketing featured a deeply offensive racial stereotype of a “mammy” character.
The company did not change its branding until 2021 when it finally admitted that the marketing was propping up an ugly stereotype. Despite the positive rebranding effort the negative connotation is going to stick with people for much longer and likely keep it from being popular for several more years.
In 2020, the idea of “A Karen” and Karen memes became widely distributed online. The name became a pejorative for an angry, entitled, white woman. Before the proliferation of the Karen memes, the name ranked as the 660 most popular for girls in 2019. By 2020, it had dropped to 831. Finally, by 2021, the name no longer ranked in the US top 1000 baby names for girls.
Considering that the name had been in the top 1000 since 1927, that is one truly monumental shift in public opinion about the name Karen.
Baby names borrowed from pop culture have always been polarizing. This is especially true for names that come from an invented language and Khaleesi is one such example. In Dothraki, a language invented by author George RR Martin, Khaleesi is a royal title synonymous with Queen. The name hit its peak popularity in 2018 but in the most recent data, the name still lands in the top 1000.
For those who kept up with the novels and TV series, you know that Khaleesi’s storyline took a very dark turn. It’s a great reminder to give names from pop culture some time to marinate before you go slapping it on a birth certificate willy-nilly. Further, Khaleesi just sounds far too over-the-top as a modern baby name.
Lilith has been on a meteoric rise in the US since 2010. It shot up the popularity charts to become the 268 most popular baby name for girls in 2021. That makes Lilith one of the fastest-rising names for girls today. Lilith is an ancient name from Assyrian and Sumerian from the root lilitu which means “of the night.”
In Jewish folklore, Lilith is portrayed as Adam’s rejected first wife, who was turned into a night demon for refusing to obey him. Thus the name is considered to mean “ghost,” “night monster,” or “night demon.” Not the greatest credentials!
However, we believe the name has gotten a lift in recent years from Lilith Fair, an all-woman traveling music festival that raises money for a variety of women’s charities. You get to decide if that has changed the image enough for you to use this dark name.
Nevaeh has had unbelievable success since singer Sonny Sandoval introduced the idea of turning Heaven around and using it as a baby name for his daughter. The name quickly landed in the US top 1000 by 2001 and it’s been a top 100 choice for girls for a decade now. According to Nameberry, Nevaeh was the fastest growing baby name in US history. This trendy name was extremely popular among religious parents and only time will tell if it ages as poorly as many people expect.
Following the Watergate scandal and the ultimate resignation of the controversial president, Richard Nixon, there was very little public interest in using his surname as a given name. In fact, the name was on the rise until Nixon was elected president and then, the name stopped its upward trajectory. It was not until the early aughts that new parents began trying this name again. The name peaked in 2017 and we doubt it will improve its one-time ranking in the US top 500 baby names for boys.
Pippa is a cute, short form of Philippa that you seldom hear in the US. In fact, it’s only truly popular in British Commonwealth nations like England, Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand. In England, it’s a top 100 baby name for girls. Aside from the name sounding too cutesy for many American parents, the name has negative slang meanings and connotations in several European languages including Swedish, Italian, Greek, and Polish. It will be interesting to see if American parents will ever take to the name.
Rex has been a mildly popular name in the US since records begin in 1880. Despite it having a butch sound and that attractive X, Rex will always be a name for dogs for some. In fact, most people when polled on the most common dog names will say Rex, Max, Rufus, and Duke.
If you can get over the dog connection, Rex is a name of Latin origin that means “king.”
We have Irish actor Saoirse Ronan to thank for highlighting the virtues of this name to the American public. The name first made its way onto to top 1000 chart in 2016 and has been slowly gaining traction each year since then. People find fault in the baby name because of its pronunciation(s) that range from SEER-sha, SUR-sha, or SAIR-sha depending on the dialect. That makes it difficult for many American English speakers.
The name first entered use in Ireland in the 1920s, when Ireland gained independence from the United Kingdom. Thus, the name means “freedom.” Unlike older, more established Irish baby names, Saoirse is more contemporary and contentious due to its political connotations in Ireland. In fact, it’s also the name of a monthly magazine published by the political party Sinn Féin.
For many, Trixie only has a place as a cutesy nickname for Beatrix. And, most Americans associate the name with appellations for dogs or cats rather than a baby name. Thus, it has never been a popular choice for babies in the US. In recent years, the name has gained ground in England but that’s the only place that seems open to using Trixie as a given name.
Ursula was a fairly popular baby name in the US until 1982. At that time, the name was beginning to gain a reputation as an “old lady name” that was not vibing with naming trends of the time. What put a nail in Ursula’s coffin came in 1989 as a campy, witchy, octopus in Disney’s The Little Mermaid.
The name has never recovered from the association with the character. As far as names returning after several years, Ursula is due for a comeback but we’ll have to see if it can shake its octopus nemesis reputation.
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Vanellope is a baby name that is very similar to Khaleesi. While it never got as popular as Khaleesi, Vanellope is a modern invention, given to a character, Vanellope von Schweetz, in Wreck-It, Ralph. The character, voiced by Sarah Silverman in the animated film, has inspired a few dozen parents to choose the baby name for their daughters but we do not see this name taking hold. The whole “Van” beginning is enough to turn many parents off. Yikes!
Andrew is an Assistant Editor for Mamas Uncut with over ten years of experience as a writer in the creative, marketing, and blogging spaces. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a passion for telling stories in a variety of mediums. Obsessively making lists, reporting celebrity news, and diving into emerging pop cultural topics are a few of his interests.
- 0.1 Arson
- 0.2 Vanity
- 0.3 Matrix
- 0.4 Minnow
- 0.5 Amillion
- 0.6 Furious
- 0.7 Maleficent
- 0.8 Khemistry
- 0.9 Theory
- 0.10 Christ
- 0.11 Sparkle
- 0.12 Demon
- 0.13 Indica
- 0.14 Prodigy
- 0.15 Sativa
- 0.16 Ruckus
- 0.17 Brilliance
- 0.18 Logic
- 0.19 Disney
- 0.20 Rooster
- 0.21 Menorah
- 0.22 God
- 0.23 Paradise
- 0.24 Awesome
- 0.25 Delight
- 0.26 Whiskey
- 0.27 Cinderella
- 0.28 Rambo
- 0.29 Anime
- 0.30 Notorious
- 1 Discover the Most Polarizing Baby Names for American Parents Below:
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