Culture and Lifestyle

The Evolution of Baby Names: From Prince to Cyanide

Ever wondered if you could name your baby Prince or Fanny? In New Zealand, five sets of parents found out the hard way that these names are a no-go. Every year, the Department of Internal Affairs releases a list of rejected baby names, shedding light on the ever-evolving landscape of naming conventions.

New Zealand's Naming Regulations

In 2023, Prince realised the list of rejected names in New Zealand. The country prohibits names that sound like titles, use special characters, or could be deemed offensive. Even Mansfield Park's Fanny and the goddess of wisdom, Isis, found themselves on the banned list. A total of 64 names, including Bishop, Major, King, Empress, Queen, Princess, Pope, and Messiah, faced rejection.

UK's Naming Standards

Comparatively, the UK is less stringent, but registering officers can still reject names that are misleading, use special characters, or may cause harm or offence. A British mother's attempt to name her child Cyanide was thwarted under these guidelines.

The Dynamics of Name Popularity

Names have a fascinating ebb and flow, influenced by celebrities, societal preferences, and even historical events. Sociologists suggest that people tend to prefer names not used by anyone they know personally, leading many to look back a century or so for inspiration.

The Recycling of Names

The challenge, however, is that everyone may have the same idea. Names that were popular a century ago, like Ivy, Florence, George, and Arthur, are making a comeback in the present day. The cycle repeats, and what was once considered unique becomes a common choice at nurseries.

The Revival of 70s Names

For those concerned about the disappearance of popular names from the 70s, fear not. History has shown that names often experience a revival. My prediction for 2074? Brace yourselves for the return of Sharon, Tracey, Gary, Ian, Wayne, and maybe even Nigel – unless memories of Mr Farage interfere.

A Name's Journey through Time

Choosing a name for a baby is like putting together puzzle pieces of cultural trends, rules, and personal likes. The UK's way of doing it is more flexible, showing how names change with society. As we enjoy seeing names rejected and old ones making a comeback, remember: picking names is always changing, just like life. Stay tuned for more interesting baby name stories!