If you’re not naming your kid after a family member, or yourself because you’re amazing, you may be aiming for originality. But there is lowercase originality and then there is all caps originality with a billion exclamation points behind it. And the latter can get you in trouble with the law, particularly if you’re trying to name your kid Justice in New Zealand where it is outright banned (along with 77 others).
Here in the good old USofA we’re pretty spoiled with our First Amendment rights. By and large our baby names are only limited by our imagination (and character length limits in some states). You need no other proof of this than the unfortunate siblings named Adolf Hitler and JoyceLynn Aryan Nation.
For better or worse, other countries aren’t as lenient. Here are 10 banned baby names from around the world. Do a Frenchman a favor and name your kid Nutella in their honor.
Banned In: France
Why: French officials felt that this delicious spread wasn’t a good name for a kid. They deemed it could lead to teasing or “disparaging thoughts,” which is completely dumb because everyone loves that stuff. Maybe they could have gotten around it if they named their kid Hazel Le Écrou.
Banned In: Mexico
Why: Sonora, Mexico, specifically has pretty strict naming laws to protect children. They’ve also rejected the names “email” and, inexplicably, “Terminator.” Still, John Connor might fly, but with no Terminators to give him awesome motorcycle rides, what would be the point really?
Banned In: China
Why: There’s actually a pretty sweet reason parents wanted to give their kid an at sign for a name. The way it’s pronounced in Chinese sounds very much like the phrase “love him.” Still, it didn’t fly because it would not work for the government issued IDs. It probably wouldn’t fly in America either due to restrictions on pictographs or symbols. You can still name your kid Prince, though.
Banned In: The United States (almost)
Why: A Tennessee judge took some serious issue the name Messiah. She ordered the little lord’s parents to change the name, but her decision was easily overturned due to the judge’s religious bias and, you know, the constitution. Here’s to the coming of so many Messiahs.
Banned In: Malaysia
Why: To be fair, you couldn’t go with Lilly or Elk either. That’s because the Malaysian powers that be have specifically banned any names shared by plants and animals. Which means you little Marshawn would have to go nameless every time Lynch went into beast mode.
Banned In: Portugal
Why: It’s a big question mark as to why this one’s on Portugal’s official banned named list. Maybe they just don’t like smiling? Or maybe they don’t dig Will.i.am and Julia Roberts.
Tula Does The Hula From Hawaii
Banned In: New Zealand
Why: Because it’s a truly awful name. Truly. In fact it was so awful, and the little girl who owned it hated it so much, that the New Zealand government granted her emancipation so she could name herself. At which point she dubbed herself “Wilma Whips And NeNes In Wisconsin.” Okay, not really.
Banned In: Germany
Why: This is another one meant to protect the kid. But Germany also has strict rules about a name being able to directly reflect gender. And while you might think such a thoroughly metal country would agree that Metallica is masculine AF, Hetfield did have some seriously pretty hair back in the day.
Banned In: Italy
Why: The Italian government said Venerdi (Italian for Friday) was inappropriate for a kid and could lead to the little girl being hassled. Which is something that Prince Friday never has to deal with on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. Thank God.
Banned In: Wales
Why: The Welsh government didn’t buy the mother’s explanation that the name sounded lovely and was actually pretty upbeat and positive considering Hitler took it before killing himself. The lesson here being maybe don’t justify your kids name by invoking both Hitler and suicide. Unless you’re in the U.S., in which case, welcome to the world little Hitler Cyanide.