30 Hilariously Unfortunate Names Parents Actually Give Their Children, As Shared In This Facebook Group Interview
“What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
While I totally understand what Shakespeare was getting at when Juliet uttered those famous words to Romeo, Shakespeare did not live in the age of the internet. Maybe in the 1590s people could get away with naming their child “Rivirlyn Wyld” or “Scindrela” without facing more than a bit of neighborhood gossip, but nowadays, there are online groups dedicated to shaming the atrocious names parents bestow upon their children.
Let us introduce you to the “That name isn't a tragedeigh, it's a murghdyrr” Facebook group. The group’s about page describes itself as “for when CSI needs to be called for the poor sad decomposed body of a name”, and the over 35k members do a great job investigating the internet and bringing to light the most outrageous excuses for names. From taking far too many liberties with spelling to naming their children after random words, we’ve gathered a list of examples that will make you question why anyone is allowed to be a parent. Below, you'll also find an interview with Ruth Zschoche, the group's creator, to hear how the page took off in the first place. Be sure to upvote your favorite “names” (and I use that word loosely…), then if you’re interested in hearing even more names that should have been illegal, you can check out another Bored Panda piece featuring a similar page riytte heere.
We reached out to Ruth, the creator of “That name isn't a tragedeigh, it's a murghdyrr”, to hear how this hilarious page got started in the first place. She explained that during the pandemic, she was feeling a bit isolated and started turning to Facebook more and more to feel connected to others. “At first, I used Facebook to have substantive conversations. But at some point,” Ruth told us. “It devolved into merely a distraction – the thing I escaped to. I started going on sh*tposting groups, shaming groups, joke groups about Tinder and dating, etc., alongside all my regular fan-based or local groups.”
Ruth had also recently given birth to a “surprise Covid baby”, so she was active in several mom and pregnancy groups, where she began coming across “tragic name pages”. “Having just gone through the naming process AGAIN with the newest arrival, it was fun to hear some of the wild things that other parents had come up with, as well as to find a community of people who could laugh at others and themselves on the topic,” she says. “My group was started on a whim from a funny tagline. I didn’t expect it to take off when there were so many other funny baby name groups. It was a surprise and a joy that it did.”
In terms of running the page, Ruth says it has been a blast. “I am amused and surprised every day by the crazy stuff that people share." But running the page has not been without its challenges. “Like every other part of the internet, you will encounter people with very different opinions on big issues – politics, religion, etc. While my members are in the group for baby name jokes, other more serious issues arise and conflicts start.”
Ruth explained that it has been a task to ensure that there is no cultural shaming in the group. She is very conscious about avoiding insulting traditional names of other cultures or allowing for racial biases to take place on the page. “I actually have expertise in issues of cultural and racial bias,” she told Bored Panda. “Even so, it is hard to police a group that is diverse when it comes to what people consider kind, offensive, hateful, and so forth… Getting members on board to help keep the page respectful and culturally intelligent has been hard work, but worth it.”
“Discussion of names is an amazing platform to understand identity, family, parenting, and empathy, even when joking around. And no matter what politics you espouse, no matter what you believe, you can always be kind.”
When asked if she recalls any particularly awful names, Ruth explained that there is absolutely no shortage of them. She broke down many of them from just the last month into categories like regular names spelled horribly: Madiszen, Khymberli, Tiphineigh; combination names: Sayleigh, Praylynn, Heavenleigh; random words: Hoover, Anarchy, Connecticut; names based on fandoms: Bilbo, Skywalker Annikyn Sky; and names that are entirely made up: Yuormajestii, Jkmno (Noel), D’gynesisDream Aurora. Wow, those are mouthfulls. Members of the group also shared some of their favorites of all time, including Cotton, Umbrella, Koala, Tinzzleigh, Maffew, Squire Sebastian Senator, and Elkeithtryck.
We asked Ruth why she thinks naming a child is so hard, and she is definitely an expert, as she has a blended family of 7 children, 5 of whom she named. From her personal experience, she mentioned that naming her first two children was a challenge because their father was Egyptian, and he wanted to find names that sounded Egyptian-Arabic. “It was very challenging to blend my personal tastes with his needs,” she said. “We got there eventually, but wow, the struggle.”
She thought that naming her youngest three would be easier, as she is American and her husband is Australian, so they share more cultural similarities. However, she found him vetoing many of the names she liked, while he suggested names that made her cringe. Eventually, they found common ground as well, but Ruth said she waited until the last possible moment, two days after each of their births, to put a name on their birth certificates.
“When you are choosing a child’s name, you are putting form and reality to an individual that in many ways still feels…imaginary,” Ruth explained. “Naming really gives life to a baby in the minds of parents. The child’s future - hopeful dreams for what may be - start coming into focus when you focus on their name. It is both an amazing and terrifying process. A true ‘making’.”
As far as how naming gets out of hand, Ruth told us, “Many times I think that baby names end up extremely strange because parents are searching for that one name that sounds ‘just right’. Parents typically believe that their own child is special and unique (understandably) and want a name to reflect that. They don’t want there to be five other kids in their kid’s class with the same name.”
She also noted that hormones can be powerful things. “If you have ever been pregnant, or been close to someone who is – some things that seem really crazy typically just feel normal and reasonable when pregnant. Hormones plus anxiety plus excitement wrap up together to create obsessions – with foods, the right pillow, a TV show, or naming. This leads to exploration, creativity, and unpredictability. All fertile ground for names that are – surprising.”
Lastly, Ruth wanted to add that, “Choosing a baby name is a very personal thing, and everyone is different. I bear no true judgment against unique names except in the few rare instances in which the prospective child would truly have an increased chance of being picked on or discriminated against because of it.”
“All that aside, I still say DO YOU! If the kid wants, they can change their name later. And kids really do grow into and give new meaning to their names by embodying them. You only have so many chances to choose the name for a person who will BE your family – your everything. So I say: pick wisely but pick with heart.”
That name isn't a tragedeigh, it's a murghdyrr was created in June 2021, but the page has already gained so much popularity because the internet loves roasting baby names. And some people, particularly Americans, love going out of their way to choose the most unique names (or strange spellings of common names), so their children can be the only ones in the world with that exact name. Of course, no one else on this planet would be crazy enough to name their child “Kreightlynne Dyanna”, but the point still stands. At least she’s one of a kind.
Gone are the days of choosing a common name that has stood the test of time like Sarah or Elizabeth. No, no. Why choose a name that everyone has heard before and knows how to spell? Wouldn't you rather have your kids receive a funny look every time they introduce themselves? It’s best to set our children up for a life of bullying and constantly correcting teachers and peers about the correct pronunciation and spelling... Right?
I totally understand the appeal of avoiding super common names. My parents had the same idea, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told, “I’ve never heard that name before” or “Wow, what a pretty name!” To this day, I have still not met anyone (in-person) with the same name as me. However, it is a real name. My parents were not bold enough to start at the drawing board and just pick letters out of a hat then attempt to form some sort of name with them.
And I can tell you the downsides of having a unique name as well. As much as I love and appreciate my parents for naming me Adelaide, for every compliment my name has ever received, it has received three more mispronunciations, misspellings, and responses along the lines of “What did you just say?” “Your name is Natalie?” and “Can I just call you by a nickname instead?” And again, my name has been around for generations.
Naming a child something incredibly unique may seem tempting when you’re in the delivery room overwhelmed by the joy of welcoming your little one into the world, but the reality is that name will stick with them for the rest of their life. They will certainly feel the impact of their parents’ decision once they enter school, and they’re the only child who can’t spell their name correctly or who makes the teacher feel like they're doing a tongue twister every time they call on them. Kids are also extremely creative when it comes to nicknaming other kids, and they’re not always very kind. Bullying should never be tolerated, but don’t make your kid an easy target. Children find the silliest things to mock one another for, but I don’t think Michael and John have ever been bullied for their names.
So why is naming a baby so hard? There are obvious options you can cross off the list like the names of your exes or people who bullied you in your youth, but narrowing down your possibilities can be extremely daunting. Even if you manage to choose a unique name, you can’t predict whether or not the name will become common in the future. My mother has warned me about this, as two of the three “interesting names” she chose have stood the test of time, while one has become extremely popular in the last 25 years. Still a great name, but nobody’s giving my older brother a nickname because his name induces headaches. For a lot of parents today though, the desire to find a unique name outweighs the fear of cursing their children to a life of constantly being referred to as various mispronunciations of their name.
This rise in uncommon names is not only happening in the United States though. While Americans are the most notorious for questionable name decisions, there is apparently a rise in NFU, or Need For Uniqueness, happening across the globe. According to the BBC, Japan and China have seen increases in more common, less traditional names as well. Yugi Ogihara, author of a study of Japanese baby names conducted by the Tokyo University of Science, explained that in the past, it was important for young Japanese women to conform to society and be given names that allowed them to blend in. However, now, “More parents hope for their daughters [to] become more independent, unique and autonomous to fit into changing societal norms and expectations,” she says. “Thus, it’s assumed they [give them more] unique names.”
According to The Atlantic, in 1950, 28% of American babies received one of the top ten most popular names of their time. In 2020, however, that number had fallen to 7%. On one hand, it’s probably good news for new parents to hear that even the “most popular” names today aren’t that common. So you shouldn’t be discouraged from naming your children something you like purely because it’s popular. But on the other hand, there is now an increased pressure to pick the perfect outstanding name for your kid, otherwise they’ll be the only kid in preschool who doesn’t hear, “What a unique name!” on the first day. One reason for people avoiding popular names after the 1950s is because baby-naming trends became common knowledge through books and magazines in the 1960s. Suddenly, people went from knowing maybe one or two other Jennifers in their middle school to realizing that there were probably thousands in the state.
Laura Wattenberg, founder of the naming-trends site Namerology, told The Atlantic that the act of naming kids has drastically changed over the past few decades. “We are deep in an era of naming individuality, where parents assume that having a [name] sound distinctive and unique is a virtue.” Her website features a Name Atlas, where users can see the most popular baby names in various countries, as well as many resources to provide parents inspiration for choosing names. But Laura told The Atlantic that choosing a name is much more complicated today than picking a traditional family name or something that simply sounds pretty; it has become a strategic decision. “Parents are thinking about naming kids more like how companies think about naming products, which is a kind of competitive marketplace where you need to be able to get attention to succeed.”
Naming a kid is obviously a big decision to make, but should we put so much pressure on it? What is the actual impact of our names? Aside from determining what letter we can use in “ice-breaker” games at camp where kids are required to pair their name with an adjective that starts with the same letter, our names can actually impact our careers. To test whether hiring managers showed a bias against ethnic sounding names, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley and the University of Chicago sent 83,000 example applications under “randomly assigned and racially distinctive names” to 108 entry-level job openings at Fortune 500 companies. They found that “distinctively Black names” received far less responses than White sounding names. While this is an issue of addressing racism in these companies, rather than choosing the perfect name, it’s a clear example that our names do have an impact on us.
Before naming your kid, be sure to consider every aspect of their name, including the flow of their full name and their initials including their middle name. On What to Expect’s list of Things Parents Wish They Had Known Before Choosing Their Baby's Name, one mom from South Carolina realized that she might not have been as thorough as she should have been. “My two daughters and their friend were enjoying a late summer day at the neighborhood pool and were writing their initials on their snack cups. When my daughter realized that her initials — TRD — 'sound' like 'turd' I realized that perhaps my husband and I were remiss in thoroughly analyzing all aspects of our second daughter’s initials prior to naming her... Moral of the story: think about what the initials ‘sound’ like before naming your child.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to give your child a name that’s as special as they are, but you have to consider the effects that name will have on the rest of their life. If you’re considering creating a new name from scratch, understand that there’s no shame in picking a classic from the popular baby names lists. Especially if you don’t know what it’s like to have people constantly misspell and mispronounce your name, it might be unfair to put your child through that. Enjoy the rest of this list of questionable decisions from parents, and remember to upvote the names you think warranted a call to CSI. Then let us know in the comments if you’ve ever met someone who you would recommend a name-change to.