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What’s In a Name?

40,001 Best Baby Names

Submitter: Baby name books can provide for hours of fun and a whole variety of drinking games. I love them as much as the next 27-year-old single librarian. But like any good thing, even baby name books can go bad. This one has gone as bad as that carton of cream you left in the back of your fridge. Hilarious in its breadth of pigeon-holing children and marginally offensive in how it tries to get you to pre-define your kids, this book might not be “the very best baby name book ever”.

Holly: This book has some seriously weird lists.  I wouldn’t necessarily weed it…but I wouldn’t necessarily have BOUGHT it, either!

(Above) Submitter: As a friend of many teachers, I was at first shocked and appalled, but I assumed that this list was there to prevent you from using these names.

Holly:Schmoopie?  Really?

(Above) Submitter: Really? We needed a list of names of death-row inmates? Who hasn’t always wanted to name my child after John Wayne (Gacy).

(Above) Submitter: Gay and lesbian couples somehow need to name their children from a separate list? Not to mention, when I hear “Caleb” and “Celeste”, I think children of same-sex couples? Well, this book was clearly written in the 80s, right? This was ok then, right?

Holly: I’d be interested to see what list my name is on in this book.

61 Responses to What’s In a Name?

  • It’s pretty sad to have to admit that this is the most up-date baby-name book at my local library. It’s a good thing we’re part of a regional system that has more up-to-date and less odd books available from other libraries. :S

  • katz–I would imagine it is. I would also guess that library demand might be okay since people probably won’t BUY the books (like they used to) but may feel they’re worth checking out.

    However, I fully suggest that if it’s at all possible, anyone who is even remotely interested in baby name books should look at Baby Name Wizard. The sibling matching name thing is fascinating.

  • I love this book because it’s so incredibly crazy. I love how “Cricket” and “Indiana” are “burdensome girl names,” but “Snooks,” “Buffalo,” and “Sundancer” are presumably OK because they’re on the “names that make you smile” list.

    And then I ended up devoting several posts to its ridiculousness for the benefit of of friend searching for baby names because every time you think you’re done, more pops up (“alternative spellings for names you can’t pronounce;” Malachi=Malla-Ki; Allegra=Alaygrah; Daphne=Dafnee).

  • I actually have this book, too. The 40,001 count is highly inflated because the authors list invented names the average person would never think of using, and they also count multiple spellings and derivations of names as separate names.

  • Just throwing this in for fun: In the late 19th C. there was a ruthless train robber / killer named Marion C. Hedgepeth. Do you think the fancy name was responsible?


  • My real first name is Aileen, so it makes me crazy that it’s now associated with a serial killer. It’s a good Irish name, shared by plenty of people who aren’t killers.
    I love crazy name books like this, though.

  • I propose new legislation. All American children should be named using real English words. Daphne, for instance, would be spelled Daft Knee. Caleb would be Kale Ebb. Colin would be Call In. Any name that couldn’t be rendered this way would be banned.

  • I can’t see how a teacher could mispronounce “Seth” unless it involved a speech impediment and spraying the entire front row.

  • The only Shmoopie I know is a dog. He lives in Shanghai, China. It is a cute name for a cute dog.

  • Oh my god im cracking up! apperently my name is meant for the child of a gay couple.