- In the US, parents can name their children pretty much whatever they like.
- But other countries around the world are more strict about baby names.
- Some names are banned because officials believe it will harm the child, and other names are banned to maintain the country’s cultural identity.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Norway has loosened its baby-naming laws in recent years, but it has kept two key provisions.
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.
Sweden bans first names that could cause offence 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.
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.
One part of Mexico has a list of explicitly banned names that are considered derogatory, lacking in meaning, or mockable
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