Ikea, Hermione, Paris, and Other Baby Names Banned in Countries Around the World
This story originally appeared on BusinessInsider.com.
Parents in the US have a lot of leeway when it comes to naming their children.
Just look at siblings Adolf Hitler, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, and Heinrich Hinler Hons as an example. Though you could argue there were other repercussions, their parents were totally within their legal rights according to New Jersey law to give their kids these Nazi-themed names.
And though some states do have restrictions on what parents can name their children for certain practical reasons, the US Constitution affords parents a great deal of autonomy in raising their kids.
Other countries, however, take a different view, many feeling that if a parent doesn't have their child's best interest at heart when naming them, it's the government's responsibility to step in. And other countries are particularly concerned about maintaining cultural identity.
Here are some of the names banned around the world:
France won't allow a name if the courts agree it will lead to a lifetime of mockery
In France, local birth certificate registrars must inform their local court if they feel a baby name goes against the child's best interests.
The court can then ban the name if it agrees, and will do so especially if it feels the name could lead to a lifetime of mockery.
Banned baby names in France:
- Prince William
- Mini Cooper
Germany has a number of strict baby-naming rules
Germany has a number of baby-naming restrictions, including: no gender-neutral names; no last names, names of objects, or names of products as first names; and no names that could negatively affect the child's well-being or lead to humiliation.
Banned baby names in Germany:
- Osama Bin Laden
- Adolf Hitler
Switzerland has a list of strict rules, too
Like Germany, Switzerland also has a number of baby-naming restrictions, and the Swiss civil registrar must approve all baby names.
In general, if the name is deemed to harm the child's well-being or be offensive to a third party, it will not be approved. Other rules include no giving a boy a girl's name or a girl a boy's name, no biblical villains, no naming your child a brand name, no place names, and no last names as first names.
Banned baby names in Switzerland:
In Iceland, baby names must align with the linguistic structure and conventional spelling system of Iceland
Unless both parents are foreign, parents in Iceland must submit their child's name to the National Registry within six months of birth. If the name is not on the registry's list of approved names, parents must seek approval of the name with the Icelandic Naming Committee.
About half of the names submitted get rejected for violating Iceland's strict naming requirements. Among these requirements, names must be capable of having Icelandic grammatical endings, may not conflict with the linguistic structure of Iceland, and should be written in accordance with the ordinary rules of Icelandic orthography.
So, for example, if a name contains a letter that does not appear in the Icelandic alphabet (the letters C, Q, and W, for example), the names are banned.
Banned baby names in Iceland:
Denmark only allows names from a pre-approved list
Denmark has a list of about 7,000 approved baby names, and if your name choice doesn't make the cut, you have to seek permission and have your name choice reviewed at Copenhagen University's Names Investigation Department and at the Ministry of Ecclesiastical Affairs.
More than 1,000 names are reviewed every year, and almost 20% are rejected, mostly for odd spellings.
Banned baby names in Denmark:
In most cases, Norway won't allow you to use a last name as a first name
The name won't be accepted if it is considered to be a major disadvantage for the person or for other strong reasons.
And you cannot choose a first name that is already registered in Norway's Population Register as a last or middle name (in Norway, middle names are essentially second surnames). The exception is if the name has origins or tradition as a first name in Norway or abroad or has tradition in a culture that does not distinguish between first and last name. So naming your baby one of the most popular last names in Norway, like Hansen or Haugen, would not be allowed.
Banned baby names in Norway:
Sweden bans names it considers 'obviously unsuitable' as a first name or offensive
Sweden bans first names that could cause offense to others or discomfort for the one using it.
It bans other names that would be considered obviously unsuitable as a first name.
Parents must submit the proposed name of their child within three months of birth to the Swedish Tax Agency and could face fines for failing to register a name.
Banned baby names in Sweden:
Malaysia considers names that are animals, insults, numbers, royal or honorary names, and food 'undesirable'
Malaysia has a list of names it considers "undesirable" and that are subsequently banned.
On the list of unacceptable names are animals, insults, numbers, royal or honorary names, and food.
Banned baby names in Malaysia:
- Chinese Ah Chwar (Snake)
- Woti (Sexual Intercourse)
- Khiow Khoo (Hunchback)
- Chow Tow (Smelly Head)
- Sor Chai (Insane)
One part of Mexico has a list of explicitly banned names that are considered derogatory, lacking in meaning, or mockable
A law passed in Sonora, Mexico, explicitly bans 61 first names that are either considered derogatory, lacking in meaning, or mockable.
Authorities say the objective is to protect children from being bullied because of their name.
Banned baby names in Mexico:
- Escroto (Scrotum)
Parents in New Zealand who want to give a baby name with more than 100 characters are out of luck
Banned baby names in New Zealand:
- Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii
- Sex Fruit
- Fat Boy
- Cinderella Beauty Blossum
Portugal has an 82-page list of names that denotes which are accepted and which are not
Banned baby names in Portugal:
Names that are considered 'too foreign' or blasphemous will not fly in Saudi Arabia
Banned baby names in Saudi Arabia:
- Malika (Queen)
- Malak (Angel)