The concept of banned baby names may seem odd to residents of the USA—after all, our government allows everything from the bizarre (Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily) to the downright offensive (Adolf Hitler). (To be fair, little Adolf Hitler Campbell’s parents did run into trouble with Child Protective Services when they complained about a supermarket’s unwillingness to write his name on a birthday cake.) Nevertheless, for the most part, American parents have free rein. Elsewhere, this isn’t always the case. Here are 11 countries which censor baby names, along with the names that were nixed.
The Kiwis just came out with a list of all the names their government has nixed over the past 12 years. Their criteria: “Names must not cause offense to a reasonable person, not be unreasonably long and should not resemble an official title and rank.” Some of the names that didn’t pass the test: Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii, twins Fish and Chips, Sex Fruit and Twisty Poi.
When Italian parents wanted to call their child Venerdi (translated as “Friday”), the top courts said no, as the name could expose the child to mockery. Since the name was taken from Robinson Crusoe, they worried it would be associated with “subservience and inferiority.” The judge then ordered the baby be renamed Gregorio, after the saint’s day on which he was born.
Name laws in Malaysia tightened up in 2006, and now disallow anything “undesirable.” This category includes names like Chow Tow, which means “smelly head” in Cantonese, and Sor Chai, which is the Cantonese word for insane. Also unacceptable as names: animals, insects, fruit, vegetables, colors, numbers, royal/honorary names and Japanese cars.
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