6 Common Baby Names that Might Hurt You

1. Naaktgeboren

When Napoleon seized the Netherlands in 1810, he demanded that all Dutchmen take last names, just as the French had done decades prior. Problem was, the Dutch had lived full and happy lives with single names, so they took absurd surnames in a show of spirited defiance. These included Naaktgeboren (born naked), Spring int Veld (jump in the field), and Piest (pisses). Sadly for their descendants, Napoleon's last-name trend stuck, and all of these remain perfectly normal Dutch names today.

2. Batman

Venezuelans are among the world's most creative namers, In fact, according to their own government, they're too creative. In September 2007, after hearing about babies named Superman or Batman, state authorities urged parents to pick their names from an approved list of 100 common Spanish monikers. Those conventional names (such as Juanita and Miguel) quickly acquired a patrician ring, ironically giving rise to more novel names, like Hochiminh (after the Vietnamese guerilla) ad Eisenhower (after the president). There are also at least 60 Venezuelans with the first name Hitler.

3. Eclipse Glasses

(Image source: Eclipsers)

In June 2001, a total solar eclipse was about to cross southern Africa. To prepare, the Zimbabwean and Zambian media began a massive astronomy education campaign focused on warning people not to stare at the Sun. Apparently, the campaign worked. The locals took a real liking to the vocabulary, and today, the birth registries are filled with names like Eclipse Glasses Banda, Totality Zhou, and Annular Mchombo.

4. Vladimir Ashkenazy

The people of Iceland take their names very seriously. The country permit no one-not even immigrants-to take or keep foreign surnames. So what happened when esteemed Russian maestro Vladimir Ashkenazy asked to become an Icelandic citizen? Well, the government finally decided to make an exception. Vladimir Ashkenazy is now on the short list of approved Icelandic names.

5. Yazid

Imam Husayn ibn Ali is one of the holiest figure of the Shi'ite Muslim faith. In the 7th century CE, he lost his head on the order of the Sunni caliph, Yazid, and the decapitation initiated the biggest schism in Islamic history. While the name Yazid remains common among Sunnis, it is disdained throughout the Shi'ite world. The stigmas attached to it is equivalent to naming one's son Stalin or Hitler. Speaking of which...

6. Adolf

Memories of death camps and fascism have kept parents from christening their kids Adolf for quite some time. But one unlucky youngster acquired the name in 1949. He was the son of William Patrick Hitler-the dictator's nephew, who moved to America in the 1930s to fight against his uncle. It isn't clear why William preserved the name, but his four sons (including Alexander Adolf Hitler, now 57) made a pact to never have children in an effort to stunt der Fuehrer's family tree at its branches.


The article above, written by Graeme Wood, appeared in Scatterbrained section of the Mar - Apr 2008 issue of mental_floss magazine (the excellent "The Future of Sex" issue!). It is reprinted here with permission.

Don't forget to feed your brain by subscribing to the magazine and visiting mental_floss' extremely entertaining website and blog today!

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Well, then again even Harpo Marx was née Adolf (or Adolph, not quite sure there but tpp lazy right now to check) Marx. Changed it later to Arthur, though.
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Correction: #4 is false, this is not the case anymore in Iceland and hasn't been for quite a while. People that immigrate here (to Iceland) can keep their own names and do not need to change anything about them.
However, there are rules in place with regards to first and second names of children born here to foreign parents - they are required to have one Icelandic name (first, second or third).
Citizens that had to change their names in the past can apply to revert to their original names.

This doesn't mean that you can just name your child whatever you feel like, there are restrictions in place.

Source: http://www.rettarheimild.is/DomsOgKirkjumala/Mannanafnaskra/Um_nofn/#Serstakar_reglur_um_folk_af_erlendum_uppruna (only in Icelandic)
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Naaktgeboren comes from the german word nachgeboren, wich means 'born after the father passed away' Sorta postumes therefor. Many dutch had surnames before Napoleon rules the Netherlands, he made surnames only compulsory for everybody.
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