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Baby Names to Avoid

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Some names evoke unpleasant thoughts, not so much because of the way they sound but because they conjure memories of someone you fear or dislike. The last thing a parent wants to do is saddle their new baby with such a cursed moniker. Read on for baby names to avoid.

Baby toddler cryingBiblical villains

The Bible offers wonderful heroes and heroines to inspire baby names, but it also provides a surprising number of not-so-desirable characters. Here are just a few of the unpopular choices:


Dictators and other world leaders

Not all countries have enjoyed the benefits of a democratic form of government. Some countries have been ruled by the people, not for the people. It may be awfully difficult to grow up sharing a name with these folks:

Adolf (Hitler) -- Germany 
Benito (Mussolini) -- Italy  
Ferdinand (Marcos) -- Philippines 
Fidel (Castro) -- Cuba 
Idi (Amin) -- Uganda
Ivan (the Terrible) -- Russia 
Muammar (Qaddafi) -- Libya 
Napoleon (Bonaparte) -- France  
Nicolae (Ceausesca) -- Romania  
Osama (bin Laden) -- Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan
Saddam (Hussein) -- Iraq

Bad guys in American history

The Old West and the Great Depression served up fascinating characters, like Bonnie & Clyde, Pancho Villa, and these outlaws:

(Black) Bart -- the outlaw poet who tried to bankrupt Wells Fargo
Benedict (Arnold) -- the most famous of traitors
Benjamin (“Bugsy” Siegel) -- this mobster did it all: rape, hijacking, extortion, narcotics, bookmaking and murder
Billy (the Kid) -- the original juvenile delinquent
Butch (Cassidy) -- he robbed every train, bank and ranch he came across but never shot a single person
Jesse James -- one of the most feared killers of the mid 1800s
Lizzie (Borden) -- she hacked her parents to death with an ax

Frightening fairytale characters

Every Disney movie has at least one terrifying villain to scare the pants off a kid. These bad people are the source of many nightmares:
Cruella -- 101 Dalmations
Frollo -- The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Hades -- Hercules 
Jafar -- Aladdin 
Malificent -- Sleeping Beauty
Scar -- The Lion King
Ursula -- The Little Mermaid

Shakespeare’s villains

For those who’ve moved on from Disney theatre, there’s Shakespeare. Readers of these words will have great difficulty naming their offspring after any of these complex bad guys:

Aaron (the Moor) -- Titus Andronicus
Claudius -- Hamlet
Don John -- Much Ado About Nothing
Edmund -- King Lear
Iago -- Othello
Shylock -- The Merchant of Venice

Comic book villains

Pow! Zap! Bop! We love Batman and Wonder Woman, but we’re less fond of their enemies:

Felix (Faust)
Lex Luther
Solomon (Grundy)
(General) Zod

Frightening movie characters

Of course you’re not going to name your kid Leatherface (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre), but even some seemingly ordinary names can bring back visions of the scariest flicks ever:

Alex (Forrest) -- Fatal Attraction
Carrie (White) -- Carrie 
Damien -- The Omen
Darth (Vadar) -- Star Wars
Freddy (Krueger) -- A Nightmare on Elm Street
Hannibal (Lector) -- The Silence of the Lambs
Jack (Torrance) -- The Shining
(Baby) Jane -- What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?
Jason (Voorhees) -- Friday the 13th
Norman (Bates) -- Psycho 
Regan -- The Exorcist

Most parents will also eliminate their own list of unacceptable names -- old boyfriends, despised teachers, annoying coworkers, childhood bullies. Because even more important than choosing a name that won’t offend others’ senses is selecting one that won’t make you cringe every time you address your youngster.

Need help finding the right baby name? Check out these articles below:
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