Stories you can use to start conversation or to add interest to speeches or presentations

Resources for Speakers - Anecdotes About Names Titles

My friends call me Mike but you can call me Bruce

Children's Names

A Swedish couple from Yre in northern Sweden have taken their fight to name their son Q to the Supreme Administrative Court. The Supreme Administrative Court on April 21st granted the couple leave to appeal and will consider whether the 1982 names law allows the use of a single letter as a first name. The couple write that as an alternative they could consider the use of the name "Q:u"

More and more newspapers are assigning reporters to pore through local birth records to sample the diversity of names parents are giving their kids these days. An Edmonton Journal reporter noted in March that the nearly 51,000 babies born in the province of Alberta in 2011 included a boy named Moo, two girls named Unique, an Einstein, a Messiah, a J-Cub, a Smiley, a Tuff, a Tuba, a Jazz, a Camry, an Andromeda, and an Xxavier [sic], and a boy named R and a girl named J. Also Twinkle Twinkie Twilight, which CPS says is the child's legal name.

Baby Names

In 2011 for the first time in 10 years, Jose was not the most popular baby name in Texas (it was Jacob), but more interesting were the outlier names from the birth register examined by the Houston Press in December. Among last year's Houston babies were boys with the first names Aa'den, Z'yun, Goodness, Godswill, Clever, Handsome, Sir Genius, and Dallas Cowboys. Girls' names included Gorgeousg'zaiya, A'Miracle, Dae'Gorgeous, and Praisegod. The newspaper had previously combed the register of convicts in Harris County (Houston) and found Willie Nelson de Ochoa, Shi'tia Alford, Petrono Tum Pu, Charmin Crew, and Anal Exceus.

American Children's Names

The name "Imogen" may well be a typo. Its first recorded use is in Shakespeare's Cymbeline. It is thought that he wrote "Innogen", a common Celtic name at the time. The printers misread the "nn" as "m" and thus a new name was born!

Because a lot of the people having kids are the ones who shouldn't be redneck yokels, there has been a significant increase in the number of children born in the US being named after guns. Obviously, I am going to name my firstborn Laser Blaster Pew Pew, especially if it's a girl.

Most popular of all is Gunner, which was given to more than 1,500 babies in the US last year. Lance is an old-school choice, but has been increasingly joined by Mace, Blade, Saw and Dagger... Also on the rise in the US - a nation which has seen significant gun violence this year - for baby boys are Trigger, Shooter, Caliber, Magnum and Pistol. There has also been a rise in the use of gun manufacturers such as Barrett, Remington, Kimber, Ruger, Wesson, Browning, Benelli and Beretta. Meanwhile, five little boys were named Danger last year. Even blunter were the 11 named Arson and nine called Chaos.


Thousands of parents would choose a different name for their child if they had the chance, according to a study that has uncovered widespread 'baby name remorse'. Although only 2 per cent of families officially change their baby's name, one in five says they wish they had called them something else, according to research by the Mumsnet forum.

The reason for most parental second thoughts is discovering that the carefully chosen and apparently unusual name is, in fact, rather common. Other reasons include problems with spelling and pronunciation, annoyance at other people shortening the name, and never liking the name in the first place but being pressured into using it.

One mother admitted to choosing Isis for her daughter years ago, inspired by the ancient Egyptian goddess, and was horrified to find the name adopted to refer to the jihadist terrorist group. Another chose Elsa, an unusual name until Disney released the film Frozen, spawning hundreds of other little Elsas.

Justine Roberts, the founder of Mumsnet, said: 'Choosing your baby's name is one of the first things new parents do, so in some ways baby name regret is great practice for parenting: you do a lot of hard work and research, try to please several people at once, and end up getting it wrong.'

Middle Names

Every week in the UK, at least one person changes his middle name to 'Danger' by deed poll.

Kid's Names


Just Strange Names

A Dutch pharmacoepidemiologist named Taco B.M. Monster routed Courvoisier Winetavius Richardson by a 61 to 39 percent vote in the final round of the "Name of the Year" blog's yearlong, NCAA elimination-style tournament to take this year's prize. He joins esteemed humans Nohjay Nimpson, Spaceman Africa and Assumption Bulltron in the blog's "Hall of Champions."
Dr Monster defeated Florida murder victim Commie Spead, retired Lutheran preacher the Rev. Demon Sox, wine merchant Monsterville Horton IV, girlfriend attacker Vernon Lee Bad Marriage and Neptune Pringle III. A British man added a few extra names - one for every letter of the alphabet, plus a few extras he just liked Marmalade, Cobweb, Neddy and Pepin. His friends still call him Nick.

A British 19-year-old has officially changed his name to "Captain Fantastic Faster Than Superman Spiderman Batman Wolverine Hulk And The Flash Combined." His grandmother is no longer speaking to him.

Robert Smith?, a mathematician (he changed his name by deed poll to include the question mark)

Businessman Armand Hammer got asked so much if he worked at Arm & Hammer, he bought enough stock in the company to get on their board of directors.

Monty Python's Contribution

"Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (sound effect of horse whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (blows whistle) Northgot Edwards Harris (fires pistol, which goes 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots, stops singing) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers...

Hyphenated Names

Unexpected consequences - an Irish rugby player after a costly miss of an opposition player named Phil Horrocks-Taylor: "Horrocks went one way, Taylor went the other, and I tackled the bloody hyphen."

Nearly half of all Vietnamese people have the same last name (Nguyen), making it almost impossible to trace an individual's heritage further than one or two generations.

Due to its frequent name changes it's entirely possible a Russian was born in St. Petersburg, went to school in Petrograd, got married in Leningrad and died in St. Petersburg without ever having moved.

Collective Names

Among its esoteric collective nouns for groups of animals ("a bike of ants" "an escargotoire of snails"?) the OED features a whoop of gorillas and a flange of baboons.
In fact the names were made up for a sketch on Not The Nine O'Clock News, a BBC production which gave us Pamela Stephenson (later Billy Connolly's wife), Mel Smith, Griff Rhys Jones and Rowan Atkinson

Shop Names

Dress shop Chocolates For Breakfast
Sex shop called Coming Attractions Staarchi & Staarchi the Drycleaners

Business Names

The name "Six Flags" refers to the flags of the six different nations that have governed Texas: Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the United States, and the Confederate States of America.


The Grand Express d'Orient was a revolutionary sleeping car concept introduced by a Belgian entrepreneur named Georges Nagelmackers, who, sadly, never became a famous as his US counterpart George Pullman.

Band Names

Singing group Choir! Choir! Your Pants Are On Fire!
San Fran lesbian group The Baby Snatching Dingoes
country music band Toe Suckin' Cowgirls

Musician's Names

A New York Times obituary for former lead singer Jani Lane of the heavy metal band Warrant revealed that Mr. Lane's birth name (he was born a year after Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy) was John Kennedy Oswald. Rebellious musicians (Warrant's debut album was "Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich") often adopt provocative stage names to enhance their image, but Mr. Lane must be one of the very few to have abandoned a provocative birth name in favor of a bland one.

Famous Names

Michael J. Fox's middle name is Andrew
Richard Gere's middle name is Tiffany
Peter O'Toole - only man in world whose first and last names are synonyms for penis.
Wild Bill Hickok's brother (real name Lorenzo) was known as "Tame Bill"
BB King won a regular slot as a performer and DJ on a local radio station, where his duties included singing a jingle in praise of a health tonic called Peptikon. As a result, he acquired the soubriquet 'The Peptikon Boy', although it was not long before he became known as 'The Beale Street Blues Boy', which in turn evolved into 'Blues Boy King', and finally 'BB King'.
Joseph Stalin's real name was Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili. He decided to change his name to Stalin in 1902, which meant 'steel' in Russian. He believed it would make him appear tough.

Mahatma is a Sanskrit honorific, like 'Saint', and not the first name of Mohandas Gandhi.

Henry Shrapnel in 1784 invented a hollow cannon ball that would be filled with shot and gunpowder and exploded over the enemies.

Banned Names

Baby names banned in New Zealand:

(New Zealand's Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages states that acceptable names must not cause offence to a reasonable person, not be unreasonably long and should not resemble an official title and rank.) All these are banned:

Justice, Justus, Justyce, Juztice, Judge,
King, Queen, Princess, Prince, Prynce, Royal, Royale, Majesty, Majesti,
Queen Victoria or Queen V, Regal, Royal-Rule, Emperor,
Duke, Dukey, Knight, Lady, Sir, Baron,
Minister, Master, Mr, President,
Lucifer, Messiah, Saint,Lord, Eminence, Bishop,
Chief, Honour,
Sargent, Major, Corporal, General, Christ,
Constable, Special Constable,
Any single letters, numbers or Roman numerals
Jr, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th,
Sex Fruit, V8, Mafia No Fear, Rogue, 4real,
. (full stop), using brackets around middle names, / (back slash), * (star symbol)

Hurricane Names

Commercial Brands and Products

Spanish red wine Arses
French breakfast cereals Plopsies, Crapsies
Mexican biscuits Bimbo
Ghana soft drink Pee Cola
China Puke cigars and Flying Baby toilet paper

A German company, Sour Krauts, has created a "motowear" brand featuring helmeted skulls

German navigtor flying with RAF in Afghanistan. His name wasn't released, so papers just called him von Biggles.

NY guy named Glen Eden collecting everything that had Glen Eden in it - suburb maps, train stations, hotels etc, but also Glen Eden nudist club.

Beer Names

Turned down once before, liquor manufacturer EFAG convinced Germany's Federal Patent Court in September to award trademark protection to its schnapps with the brand name Ficken, which in German translates directly into what in English is known as the F word. The court acknowledged that the name is unquestionably in poor taste but is not "sexually discriminatory" and does not violate public morals. In fact, the court noted, the word is widely used in Germany. (In March 2010, the European Union trademarks authority granted a German brewery the right to call its beer "Fucking Hell" the first word of which is the actual name of an Austrian village and the second a German word referring to light ale.)

SOME OF BRITAIN'S LAST BENEDICTINE monks, based in Devon, brew a tonic wine that many say tastes of a mixture of cough medicine and fruit bubblegum. Somehow, it's become the drink of choice for violent Scottish offenders some 450 miles away. Where Buckfast really packs a punch is in how much caffeine it has: a single 750ml bottle has 281 milligrams, or around as much as 10 cans of Coke. Buckfast is variously known as Wreck the Hoose Juice, Commotion Lotion, Bottle of Fight the World, Liquid Speed or Scranjuice.

Swear Words

Christian Ingber recently opened a sandwich shop in Gothenburg, Sweden, whose signature food is the "A F**king Awesome Sandwich" (but with the "uc" in place, since the restaurant appears unconcerned about e-mail filters). An American expatriate told Stockholm's The Local news service that Swedes think English "curse words" are "cute and charming."


Taco Bell has rolled out a new television ad featuring men named Ronald McDonald talking about how much they like Taco Bell's various breakfast offerings. Of course, Ronald McDonald is also the name of McDonald's clown mascot, who has been around since the 1960s. Near the end of the ad, words at the bottom of the screen indicate that none of the Ronald McDonalds are affiliated with McDonald's.

Marriage Names

This October, Kelly Hildebrandt will vow to share her life with a man who already shares her name. This is not a joke. Kelly Katrina Hildebrandt, 20, and Kelly Carl Hildebrandt, 24, expect just over 100 guests to attend a ceremony at the Lighthouse Point Yacht & Racquet Club in South Florida, where they will become husband and wife.

(Posted by a guy named Park) "There is a woman here at SMU with the surname Jurazek. I have not met her and I don't know a thing about her. But I desperately want to marry her so we can hyphenate our names and be Mr and Mrs Jurazek-Park.

What the Phone Book Does To Names

(courtesy of Fark) I know a guy name Ed Vincent King. In the phone book he is listed as King Edward V.

So he didn't disappear in the Tower after all and merely was in hiding since 1483.

What Computers Do To Names

Christopher Null finds surname makes him invisible to many machines, such as his bank, which are programmed to ignore it. The solution is to add a full stop to his name.

All in the family

Royal Names

Londoners bet on everything. The bookmaker Paddy Powers has conjured odds on royal baby names, ranging from the distinctly possible - Diana (8 to 1), Frances (Diana's middle name, 5 to 1) and John (Diana's father, 6 to 1) - to the more creative concepts that appear to hinge on the extent to which a vengeful William wants to make a statement: Wallis at 100 to 1, Fergie at 250 to 1 or Fiona (after the 'Shrek' princess) 40 to 1.

Change Names

Kal Penn is one of the best-known Indian actors in Hollywood now. But did you know his real name is Kalpen Suresh Modi? He changed his stage name to Kal Penn as sort of a joke to his friends to prove them wrong that a name change would help with callbacks: "Almost as a joke to prove friends wrong, and half as an attempt to see if what I was told would work (that anglicized names appeal more to a white-dominated industry), I put 'Kal Penn' on my resume and photos." Result: his callbacks increased 50%. It sucks that our society has trouble remembering non-English names, but the proof is in the pudding. So find something you'd like to use as a stage name and stick with it in professional life.

After the Boaty McBoatface debacle, you think we would have learnt to stop trusting the public. Not so. The board of the Robert E Lee elementary school in Austin, Texas, has decided that it should rebrand, because its namesake is too divisive nowadays, having led the Confederate Army of Virginia. So they asked the public for their thoughts. Some of the most popular suggestions include the Adolf Hitler School for Friendship and Tolerance, Schooly McSchoolerson, but leading the pack with the most nominations is the Donald J. Trump Elementary School.

In Doncaster UK they named a gritter: Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-Slip Machinery.

Place Names

Idaho got its name because some guy George M. Willing proposed the name to Congress, claiming that it was Shoshone Indian for "Gem of the Mountain," when it was really just a word he made up.

There's a town in the Oklahoma panhandle named "Hooker" and its slogan is "It's a location, not a vocation".

Criminal Names

Sentenced for burglary in Portland, Ore., in November (for a December 2008 incident in which he, nude, was detained by the 88-year-old female homeowner, who had grabbed hold of his scrotum): Mr. Michael G. Dick, 47.

Mr. Bamboo Flute Blanchard, 18, who was arrested in June in Gainesville, Fla., and accused of trying to stab his father for an unreported provocation - although one possible motive suggests itself.)

Suspected of stealing scraps of copper in Riverside, Ohio, in December: Jesus Christ Superstar Oloff, 33.
Arrested for sex abuse against a 6-year-old boy in Oklahoma City in October: Lucifer Hawkins, 30.
On trial in December for extortion in Britain's Southwark Crown Court (threatening to reveal a sexual affair): Ms. Fuk Wu.
Ottawa Police arrested a 62-year-old man, after complaints about an adult male exposing himself at Mooney's Bay Park. Donald Popadick has been charged with Indecent Act and Mischief.

Sought as a suspect in a convenience store killing in Largo, Fla., in December (and an example of the highly revealing "Three First Names" theory of criminal liability), Mr. Larry Joe Jerry - who actually has four first names (Larry Joe Jerry, Jr.).

Must Be Guilty: Arrested in Woodbridge, Va., in July for burglary after being discovered by police inside the MVC Late Night adult store: U.S. Army officer Justin Dale Little Jim, 28 (who was found physically engaged with a "blow-up doll"). Little Jim's chances for acquittal are slim under News of the Weird's insightful theory of criminal culpability known as the "Three First Names" hypothesis.

In June in the Houston suburb of Alvin, Tex., a petite, 42-year-old Walmart customer came across three men running out of the store carrying shoplifted beer. She decided that it was up to her to take a stand because, as she said later, she was "sick of the lawlessness." The woman (whose name, coincidentally, is Monique Lawless) chased the men, climbed onto the hood of their getaway car, even jumping up and down on it, to delay their escape. The three were eventually arrested: Sylvester Andre Thompson and his brothers Sylvester Durlentren Thompson and Sylvester Primitivo Thompson.

Arrested recently and awaiting trial for murder: Nicholas Wayne Smith, Leland, N.C. (January); Jonathan Wayne Broyhill, Raleigh, N.C. (April); James Wayne Ham, San Jacinto County, Tex. (May); Kenneth Wayne Welch, San Diego County, Calif. (June); Bryan Wayne Brackbill, Jr., Carroll Township, Pa. (June). Indicted for murder: Darrell Wayne Parker, Belton, Tex. (March). Convicted of murder: Stanley Wayne Robertson, College Station, Tex. (February). Sentenced for murder: Derral Wayne Hodgkins, Dade City, Fla. (April); Jacob Wayne Smith, Tulsa, Okla. (June). Murder conviction upheld: Michael Wayne Fenney (also known as Michael Wayne), Janesville, Minn. (June). Re-sentencing for murder demanded: Dale Wayne Eaton, Cheyenne, Wyo. (June) (now allegedly ineligible for execution because of low IQ).

Le'Genius Wisdom Williams of St. Petersburg, who was 13 then, pleaded guilty to shooting 15-year-old Dinarick Ford three times after the older teen reportedly taunted him. Ford survived.

The Lane brothers of New York, Mr. Winner Lane, 44, and Mr. Loser Lane, 41 (their actual birth names), were profiled in a July Newsday report, made more interesting by the fact that Loser is successful (a police detective in South Bronx) and Winner is not (a history of petty crimes). A sister said she believes her parents selected "Winner" because their late father was a big baseball fan and chose "Loser" just to complete the pairing.

A Floridian with drug charges named Edward Cocaine. In June, in Lake Wales, Fla., Ms. Crystal Metheney, 36, was arrested on a (BB-gun charge--but she also has a drug arrest (marijuana) on her record. In July a southern Oregon wildfire investigation turned up suspect Freddie Smoke III, 27. And for less-mature News of the Weird readers, Ryan Smallwood, 26, was arrested in Rock Hill, S.C., for making obnoxious sexual comments in a restaurant.

All the Kids the same name

US Sec of State Lawrence Eagleburger named all his 3 sons Lawrence in a "a combination of ego and a desire to screw up the Social Security system"

George Foreman named all 5 sons George and all 5 daughters Georgette. His motive was that he feared losing his memory in old age

"I won lifetime passes to the Oregon Aquarium for being their fifth millionth visitor. My original pass didn't expire until 2999. Then when I got a replacement, it showed the expiration as 2099. They got smart. I plan to name every child my name so they all can use that pass."

An upper Manhattan couple is on the run after abducting their eight children from a Queens foster care facility, cops said Tuesday. Shanel Nadal, 28, went to visit her kids - seven boys between 4 and 11 years old, all named Nephra Payne, and an 11-month-old girl named Nefertiti - at the Forestdale agency on 112th St. in Forest Hills about 4 p.m. on Monday, police said.

When the referee at a football match in Suffolk needed to book a player, he didn't have to ask their name - every member of both teams was called Bungay. So were the referee, the assistant referees and the mascot. And Dr Elizabeth Bungay was on hand in case of injury. In all, 70 people called Bungay were united for the charity match in Bungay, Suffolk. Sam Delaney, a Talksport radio commentator, said: "It is the easiest commentary job I have ever done."


.... Hugh Rae known as Hip Hip

.... guy who had one hand smaller than the other Clock .... Laptop bc he was a small policeman (PC)

.... Gloss bc too many other guys at job called Matt

... and Charles Prince was boss of Citicorp.

Critter Names

George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld all have slime beetles named after them.

Judges' Names

According to a new study published in the American Law and Economics Review, changing a woman's name from something feminine, such as Sue, to a gender-ambiguous name such as Kelly increased the odds of becoming a South Carolina judge by about 5 percent. Changing the name Sue to a predominantly male name such as Cameron tripled the odds of becoming a judge, and changing it to Bruce increased the odds by a factor of five.

Authors and Their Books

Robin Banks Punishment
Stephen Beltz How To Make Johnny Want To Obey
David Blot Put It In Writing
Geoff Carless Motorcycling For Beginners
Mary Breasted Oh! Sex Education!
William Cockburn The Symptoms, Nature, Cause and Cure of Gonorrhoea
Margaret Coffin Death In Early America
E & R Dobash Violence Against Wives
Eric Fuchs Sexual Desire and Love
Rev Joseph Gay Common Truths From Gay Texts (1908)
G A Martini Metabolic Changes Induced By Alcohol
(source: Fish Who Answer The Telephone and Other Bizarre Books

Donors' Names

Federal Election Commission records show that Colbert's committee has recently received two separate contributions (totaling $275) from one Oliver Urface of Knoxville, Tennessee. While Urface purportedly lives on Shane Lane, an actual street, no record of his existence could be found in various online databases. The donations from Urface - whose full name could, of course, be mistakenly pronounced as "All Over Your Face" - follow prior contributions from Colbert supporters like Pat Magroin, Harry Ballsagna, Ibin Yerkinoff, and Frumunda Mabalz. The uniquely named quartet last year donated an aggregate total of $37 to the entertainer's political committee.

Politician's Names

Lon Nol, a Cambodian president who was known as the last of the great southeast Asian palindromes. (His spokesman was called Am Rong, by the way.)

Brazil has a robust democracy but with very few controls on what candidates may call themselves on ballots. Among those running for offices this election season, according to a September New York Times dispatch from Rio de Janeiro: "John Kennedy Abreu Sousa," "Jimmi Carter Santarem Barroso," "Ladi Gaga," "Christ of Jerusalem," a "Magaiver," five "Batmans," two "James Bonds," and 16 people whose name contains "Obama." "It's a marketing strategy," said city council candidate Geraldo Custodio, who apparently likes his chances better as "Geraldo Wolverine."

U.S. political consultants may recommend to their candidates gestures such as wearing an American flag lapel pin. In India, the advice includes creating the proper suggestive name for the candidate on the official ballot. Hence, among those running for office this year (according to a February Hindustan Times report): Frankenstein Momin, Hamletson Dohling, Boldness Nongum, and Bombersing Hynniewta, and severak Sangmas (related or not): Billykid Sangma, Mafiara Sangma, Righteous Sangma, and Winnerson Sangma. More confusing were Hilarius Dkhar and Hilarius Pohchen and especially Adolf Lu Hitler Marak.

Website Names

Italian website called - sadly turned out to be just an outfit which recharges batteries

Microsoft once sued Mike Rowe, a high school student who registered for his part-time web design project. Eventually, a settlement was reached, with Microsoft purchasing the domain in exchange for an Xbox console.


The Advertising Standards Authority has ordered a company called Sofa King to stop using a slogan to advertise low prices. The authority noted that "Sofa King Low" suggested a swear word that might be regarded as offensive. The slogan, which has been used by the Northampton firm since it began trading nine years ago, appears on its shop front and vehicles.

Car Names

The fuss began when Renault unveiled the small new electric car, in concept form, this month. The company is hoping that the Zoe will lead the world market in electric cars. Zoe will now become figures of fun, said Rebecca225, the mother of a one-year-old Zoe, who started one of the petitions under her internet user name. I am shocked. It is completely wrong that Renault should take the name of a woman - of my daughter - for a car, a marketing product, she wrote. But Zoe also happens to be one of the most popular current names for French baby girls. It has risen from nowhere over the past five years to become 17th favourite.

The Chevrolet Nova sold very well in Latin American markets; General Motors did not need to rename the car. While "no va" does mean "it doesn't go" in Spanish, "nova" is understood as "new" and drivers in Mexico and Venezuela where it was first sold bought it eagerly. There was no need to change the model name, as is still claimed there was.

When Triumph relaunched their twin cylinder, 1700cc motorbike in 2009 they reputedly contacted Ford Motor Co in US to see if there wd be any objection to them using the Thunderbird name, only to be told that Ford had actually nicked it off Triumph in the first place. Triumph had had a Thunderbird in in 1949; Ford produced the T-Bird in 1955.


Yahoo!'s conference rooms are called names like Coherent, Disposed, Consistent and Definitely. When someone asks "Where's Jerry?" "Oh he's in Coherent" or "He's in Disposed".

Animal Names

Anophthalmus hitleri is a blind beetle found only in 5 caves in Slovenia. named after Hitler in 1935, it is now endangered due to collectors of Nazi memorabilia.

First Names

The Icelandic phone book is ordered by first name

First Names

An automotive inclined young couple and their three boys ages four, three and 6 months; Diesel, Harley and last but not least Viper.


At an October ceremony in the Satara district in India's Maharashtra state, 285 girls were allowed to change their names, as each of them had originally been named the Hindi word "Nakusa," which translates to "unwanted" (expressing their parents'disappointment at not having had a son). In Satara, only 881 girls are born for every 1,000 boys, reportedly the result of abortion, given the expense of raising a girl (whose family is expected to pay for any wedding and give a dowry to the groom's family).

A Suggestion


Name After Food

A man has changed his name to Marmite. Saire Marmite, 38, used to be called May but changed his surname to show his passion for the yeast-extract spread.

The Marmite fan, from North Shields, has a 100-piece collection of Marmite memorabilia that includes cufflinks, rare jars and a wartime recipe book. "I will continue to do my bit to help end Marmite neglect," he said, adding: "My family think I'm mad. My mum just shrugged her shoulders. She expects this sort of thing from me."

Place Names

Austrian village Fooking (only 32 houses and 100 people) complaining that their sign always being stolen

For years, visitors to the Bavarian town of Poppenhausen have giggled at its name - which translates as 'Bonktown'. Now tourist officials have rebranded Poppenhausen as a venue for saucy weekends. A spokesman said: "We had lots of people coming to the town because of its name. In the end we decided if you can't ban them, at least make them comfortable."

The village of Shitterton in Dorset's Piddle Valley has Britain's most embarrassing place name, according to a survey in which its neighbour, Scratchy Bottom, came second. Third place went to Brokenwind in Aberdeenshire with Crapstone, on the edge of Dartmoor, fourth. The survey was carried out by the family history website It may be known locally as "the village that dare not speak its name" but residents recently paid for a 1.5-tonne slab of marble carved with the name Shitterton that stands on the roadside at the entrance to the hamlet. This replaced more conventional metal signs that were repeatedly stolen by souvenir hunters. The origins of the name are uncertain, but one theory has it that it means simply "the village on the stream that is used as an open sewer".

In April, the Tisdale, Saskatchewan, town council finally decided, after 60 years, to alter the widely-used and inspiring town slogan (honoring the canola oil's parent, the rapeseed)--"Land of Rape and Honey."

Metropolis USA branded itself "Home of Superman" in 1970-2. When the Christopher Reeves movies came out, Superman Celebration really took off. People came to visit Superman museum and take part in dress up contests (Fat guys in capes and diapers looking really bad!)

Many places in Australia have native aborigine names - quite a few of them translate as "It's a hand you fool"

Train stop on London Underground named Barking. Margaret Thatcher was known as Lady Dagenham - 3 stops beyond Barking.

A quirk of colonial history has helped a commuter town best known as a haven for ageing rock stars and minor royalty become the settlement in Britain most mimicked worldwide. Richmond-upon-Thames, the affluent southwest London borough that is home to celebrities including Sir Mick Jagger and Princess Alexandra, has given its name to 55 settlements on three continents, making it the most widely copied place name to emerge from these islands. It has beaten London into second place in a league table compiled by The Times Universal Atlas of the World that identifies the top ten most influential British place names. The secret of Richmond's success is partly a result of three Dukes of Richmond who exerted their influence in the colonies in North America. They gave their names to US Richmonds in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, and Canadian towns in Ontario and British Columbia. South Africa has five Richmonds, Jamaica and Australia each have four, and Grenada has two. There is one apiece in the Bahamas, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

An old riddle is how many lakes are there in the Lake District? The answer is one because only Bassenthwaite Lake has "lake" in the title. All the other bodies of water use the terms mere (as in Windermere and Buttermere), water (as in Crummock Water and Coniston Water), and tarn (as in you get the idea). There are hundreds and hundreds of tarns, some not much bigger than puddles. So the answer is that there are sixteen lakes and hundreds of what any sensible person would call ponds.

Following her recent holiday in the United States, in which she passed through Boring, Ore. (pop. 12,000), Scotswoman Elizabeth Leighton returned home to suggest that officials in her hometown of Dull, Scotland, arrange for the two towns to become "sister cities" (even though they did not qualify under normal protocols because of Boring's larger size.) (The Oregon town was named for a Civil War soldier, William H. Boring.)

Alaska's Juneau Empire newspaper announced on February 26th a rededication ceremony for the local homeless facility, long known as the Glory Hole Shelter.

Every St, in the dingiest part of Manchester UK, has no shops or parks or even trees. But it does have a public toilet, put there at the insistence of a city councillor who wanted to be able to truthfully say that he's "put a public toilet on every street in Manchester."

Pronouncing US Place Names

Arkansas is not pronounced like Kansas, it's Arkansaw (emphasis on last syllable), but the natives are called Arkansans, (emphasis on middle syllable). Interestingly, Arkansas City in Kansas has an audible final 's'. Connecticut has a silent middle 'c' and the stress is on the 2nd syllable. Illinois may look French but it's doesn't follow French pronunciation. It's pronounced 'Ill-i-noy' and for heaven's sake, don't put an 's' or a 'z' on the end.

A guide for foreigners

Place Names on the Map

The Easter Islands are a bit further east than Hawaii, hence the name.

And what's the deal with "New" England? It's over 200 years old. Last time I checked, that's not "New"

Google Maps uses automated algorithms which scrape Wikipedia for details. In 2010 they accidentally renamed Santos "Island of MacGyver" after a vandal altered the online encyclopedia's listing.

Places Named After Famous People

From Astaire Avenue, Garland Drive and Presley Circle in Los Angeles to JFK airport in New York, naming public places after famous people has long been a proud tradition in America. In Britain, the idea of a David Beckham Park or Simon Cowell Drive might sound crass, but a think-tank is calling for achievers to be commemorated and for public places to be renamed after them, claiming that it enhances community cohesion.

Marital Combo Names

Unusual wedding combos recorded at Cornwall Registry Office - Nick Bone & Priscilla Skin: Charles Swine & Jane Ham; John Mutton & Ann Veale

Registrar in Stafford collected some ("What were they thinking?!") names: Mr & Mrs Wall calling child Stone; Mr & Mrs Waters called daughter Mineral; Mr & Mrs Castle named boy Windsor

Kid's Names

The London Times rated this the most bizarre legal case of 2008 - A nine-year-old girl involved in a custody hearing in New Zealand drew international attention for her name: Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. The judge decided that the name was a form of abuse and ordered the girl placed under the guardanship of the court. The judge noted that it was part of a wider phenomenon; other eccentric names given to children in New Zealand in recent times included Number 16 Bus Shelter and, for twins, Benson and Hedges and Fish and Chips. I taught a (Polynesian)girl whose name was spelled Ekueta. I pronounced it like I saw it, but after she left her twin brothers, named Latitude and Longitude, turned up, and I realized that their parents had a different pronunciation in mind for Ekueta!

Some Useful Advice (via Fark)

"I'm from Ireland, and I quite like the names Saoirse and Caoimhe, but I agree, it's insane giving them to a child outside Ireland. Write down your choices on a piece of paper; hand it to your friends and family; ask them to read the names back to you, without any verbal hints. If more then a third of them get it wrong, cross it off the list."

Celebrity Kid's Names

Pop and film stars addicted to giving kids weird names Paula Yates daughters Heavenly Hirana Tiger Lily, Fifi Trixibelle, Peaches, Pixie - David Bowie's son Zowie changed his name to Joe Jones as soon as he could

Jason Lee and his son Pilot Inspektor
Moroccan (Mariah Carey)
Kal-El Cage (Nicolas Cage)
Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson)
Nakoa-Wolf (Lisa Bonet)
Zuma Nesta Rock (Gwen Stefani)
Blue Angel (The Edge)
Mirabella Bunny (Bryan Adams)
Fifi Trixibelle (Bob Geldof)
Apple (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Sage Moonblood (Sylvester Stallone)
Jermajesty (Jermaine Jackson)
Kyd (David Duchovny)
Coco (Courteney Cox)
Audio Science (Shannyn Sossamon)
Moon Unit, Diva Thin Muffin, Dweezil and Ahmet (Frank Zappa)
Magician Penn Jillette's children, Moxie Crimefighter and Zolten (boy and girl)

Jamie Oliver, has flicked open the dictionary at random again and come up with the names River Rocket for his fifth child, a brother to Poppy Honey, Daisy Boo, Petal Blossom and Buddy Bear. River may be a nod to the restaurant where he made his name — the River Cafe in Fulham — while Rocket is probably his favourite salad leaf. How lucky the son was not to be called Wimpy Watercress.

.... and Kate Winslet's third husband is Richard Branson's nephew Ned Rocknroll (born Ned Abel Smith, changed his name in 2008. According to ex-wife Eliza Pearson, he did so out of a sense of fun because "we all take ourselves too seriously".)

People's Names

Not just celebrities that give their kids silly and burdensome names - Abraham Thunderclap, Gentle Fudge, Offspring Guernsey

Other helpful ones to keep the therapists busy: Rheumatism, Daft, Fatso, Bertha Big Foot, Mary Hatt Box, Albion Moonlight Butters

Interesting Life Ahead:

From the birth register of Elkhart (Ind.)General Hospital, reported by The Elkhart Truth, January 19, 2014: "Tamekia Burks, Elkhart, son (named La'Soulja Major La'Pimp Burks, 6 lbs., 8 oz.), 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, January 15, 2014."

NSFW YouTube (George Carlin)

Chinese Names

4 Chinese brothers named Great Wealth, Great Friendliness, Great Treasure and Great Happiness. They were executed after a rape and killing rampage

Middle Names

Some famous middle names William Jefferson Clinton and John Winston Lennon

Marriage Changing Names

Debate over whether woman should change her name after marriage ("What's long and hard and every Greek woman gets one on her wedding night? No, not that - it's a new surname")

Given increasing number of people with double-barrelled surnames, what will they call themselves when get married? One couple resolved problem by changing both their names to Sunlight

Changing Names

New Plymouth NZ woman charged with changing someone else's name on electoral roll. Woman went in to vote and discovered that her name was now Kaylene Fat Arse Soar

Changing Names

It would be exhaustive to chronicle the many ways that the woman born Carolyn Clay, 82, of Chattooga County, Ga., is different from us. For starters, she was once arrested for stripping nude to protest a quixotic issue before the city council in Rome, Ga.; for another, her driver's license identifies her as Ms. Serpentfoot Serpentfoot. In October, she filed to change that name--to one with 69 words, 68 hyphens, an ellipsis, and the infinity sign. One judge has already turned her down on the ground that she cannot recite the name (though she promised to shorten it on legal papers to "Nofoot Allfoot Serpentfoot").

Occupational Names

Auckland NZ guy got upset because cop wrote 'loser' as his occupation on a form. He claimed 'magician' but cop had other ideas

First Names Which are Verbs

The Holy Moly Rules of Modern Life - never trust a man whose name is also a verb - Bill, Phil, Russell or especially, Chuck!

Sponsor's Names

LTA (body which runs NZ vehicle reg and road rules) bought naming rights to a race horse and christened it Dontdrinkanddrive (colours the blue and yellow of Highway Patrol cars). Unfortunately it went lame and will probably never race

Academic Names

Austrian philosophy lecturer Michaelis Michael. Students all call him Michael Is Michael - how could he be anything but a philosophy lecturer?

Sportsmen Names

A Brazilian student-athlete enrolled at Medicine Hat (Alberta) College announced he would play the basketball season under his real Brazilian-German name, Guilherme Fuck (which he insists is pronounced foo-kay).

Elvis Presley played rugby for British Columbia in 1990's (actual full name Elvis Sinatra Presley)

Boomsplat Pukepot played rugby for Thailand

A contribution from Fark

As a pediatrician, I am willing to bet that Nevaeh (heaven backwards) was born premature. It's a typical name along with "Miracle" "Amiracle" and "Myangel" that we see in the NICU.

Dude. Just write down "Jill," and tell them they were delirious.

Despite Johnny Cash's Boy Named Sue theory that cross gender names make you grow up tough and strong bc have to fight, in fact they grow up with more self-control bc learn how to let stuff roll off your back.

Shirley Club in Australia with about 1000 members, mostly now in 70's bc named after Shirley Temple (and most of them bitter about it bc people expected ST type acts of cuteness). Today, virtually no-one is named Shirley.

Nominative Determinism

Nominative Determinism - the tendency of people to gravitate to area of work that fit their name. So:

The New Scientist gave it the name nominative determinism - the idea that there is a link between people's names and their occupation. In their book Yes!, Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini cite the classic piece of research that supports the idea that nominative determism really exists. A study of the rolls of the American Dental Association shows that more people called Dennis become dentists than you would expect if the choice of profession were purely random. And now we have the exquisitely named Bernard Madoff, making off with his client's cash. Here are my top 10 examples of nominative determinism.

1. Theodore Hee. Mr T. Hee was responsible for most of the early comic storylines for Walt Disney films.

2. Cardinal Sin. The classic example, I think. Jamie Sin was an Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church of the Philippines. Wikipedia helpfully notes: "His name should not be confused with "cardinal sin", which is synonymous for the seven deadly sins".

3. Judge Judge. In July of this year Sir Igor Judge was appointed Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.

4. Amy Freeze. Fox News Chicago's Chief Meteorologist could hardly have chosen a different profession. Save, perhaps, setting pay for Government employees.

5. Patty Turner. The inevitable name of the wife of McDonald's CEO Frank Turner.

6. Governor Blagojevich. The man responsible for introducing Americans to the British slang term "blag" which as the dictionary puts it means "To rob, steal [origin unknown]

7. Dr Fred Grabiner. This is what the internet is for. A forum on appropriate names yields this brilliant moniker for a gynaecologist.

8. J. W. Splatt and D. Weedon. The New Scientist campaign was spurred on by the discovery of these two authors of an article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology (vol 49, pp 173-176, 1977).

9. Usain Bolt. Surely his surname influenced the career of the world's fastest man? The same cannot be said of Marina Stepanova. This is the ideal name for an elite hurdler. But she earned her first titles under her maiden name of Marina Makeyeva, so her name can't have influenced her choice of career. Perhaps, though, it influenced her choice of husband.

10. Paige Worthy. Nominative determism has also fascinated the Freaknonomics blog ever since they discovered this fact checker for Good magazine.

A child pornography investigation in Minneapolis turned up 1,000 suspect images on the office computer of a 58-year-old University of Minnesota classics professor--named Richard Pervo.

Urologist Dik Kok at the Erasmus Medical Centre in Rotterdam. Warren Breedlove manager of NSW farm overrun by rabbits
president of prosthetic company named Newdick
Peter Skidmore wrote article on cow dung
Mr Grunt an article on male guinea pig orgasms
San Francisco dentist called Les Plack
David Grubb runs Feed the Children Society
Animal Behaviour by Lionel Tiger and Robin Fox
Juvenile Delinquency by Lively and Reckless
Director of The Amazing Spiderman 2: Marc Webb
Printing firm N Ireland Reid & Wright
Welsh window washer named Davis - Chamois Davis jnr

A truly exceptional case of nominative determinism involving a US businesswoman and "Democratic strategist" who offered her insights as a co-host of MSNBC's afternoon news show The Cycle. Here's looking at you, Krystal Ball.

AS ANY brass player knows, 'a crook is a metal tube used to alter the pitch of brass instruments', writes Andrew Talbot. This suggests that Major Crook, the band conductor and policeman, 'is a case of nominative quantum superposition, being both determinative and anti-determinative at the same time'.

Head nurse at a hospice for dying people named Mary Death. (Usually pronounced 'dee-ath' Her favorite story was about meeting a guy in lift who said "Oh God Is that your name? I'd change that if it was me." "Really? What would you change it to?" "I'd change it to Susan. I've never liked the name Mary."

Arrested in Aurora, Colo., in January and charged with stalking his wife: Joseph Moron.
Appointed to a senior executive position in January in the global communications firm Alcatel-Lucent:George Nazi.
Arrested for dealing marijuana in March in Fairfax County, Va.: Kevin Lee Cokayne.
Appointed as interim Chief Medical Officer of Newhall Memorial Hospital in Santa Clarita,Calif., in March: Dr. Richard Frankenstein.

(but would you use Terry Bull the Builder?)
a French goalkeeper named Dominique Dropsy
a drag racing driver called Rachalle Splatt

Mr Shit

Guy in Papua New Guinea who's real name is Abba Bina but is universally known (even on his business cards) as Mr Shit, because he's in the fertilizer trade

Scholarly Names

University researchers Browne and Quick wrote several papers together. The arrival of an undergrad named Fox provided an irresistible temptation
another paper by Vincent, Van and Goh
Knox, Knox, Hoose and Zare wrote paper on ultrafast lasers

London Times on Names

Luke Fury, the English heavyweight boxing champion, who last night put Marcelo Luiz Nascimento on the floor in five rounds, was given the middle name Tyson by his father, himself a fighter. It was clearly meant to be a clue to the boy's future occupation. But it may have been unnecessary. Luke's surname may have done the job already.

There is more in a name than we might suppose. People live out their names to a greater degree than can be explained by random variation.

The Many Names of Our "Hero" (Space Mutiny)

Slab Bulkhead
Bridge Largemeat
Punt Speedchunk
Butch Deadlift
Hold Bigflank
Splint Chesthair
Flint Ironstag
Bolt Vanderhuge
Thick McRunfast
Blast Hardcheese
Buff Drinklots
Crunch Slamchest
Fist Rockbone
Stump Beefknob
Smash Lampjaw
Punch Rockgroin
Buck Plankchest
Stump Junkman
Dirk Hardpec
Rip Steakface
Slate Slabrock
Crud Bonemeal
Brick Hardmeat
Rip Slagcheek
Punch Sideiron
Gristle McThornbody
Slate Fistcrunch
Buff Hardback
Blast Thickneck
Crunch Buttsteak
Slab Squatthrust
Lump Beefbroth
Touch Rustrod
Beef Blastbody
Big McLargehuge
Smoke Manmuscle
Beat Punchmeat
Hack Blowfist
Roll Fizzlebeef

Why does Dalai Lama have 'The' for a first name?


An epitaph can offer an entire play in a few words, like that of Ellen Shannon in Nova Scotia, "Who was fatally burned March 21, 1879, by the explosion of a lamp filled with RE Danforth's Non-Explosive Burning Fluid". I can find no other reference to Danforth's fluid. Shannon's gravestone appears to be the only place it was ever written down: in attempting to damn Danforth's Non-Explosive Burning Fluid from beyond the grave, Ellen Shannon gave this fatally misleading product eternal life.


Book Extracts on Names