Whether you’re choosing a name for your child, renaming yourself, or you’re interested in peculiar names, you’re in the right place. Some names are frowned upon, plenty are common, but only a handful of names have been deemed illegal, immoral, and forbidden. Today, we’ll explore the names that nobody can choose.
Forbidden names include King, Duke, Judge, and Master in the US. The UK includes Rogue, Monkey, Martian, and a few other silly illegal names. Many other countries have banned names like IKEA, Batman, LOL, and Messiah. Names are often forbidden due to notorious characters or inappropriate meanings.
Throughout this article, you’ll also learn the following info about forbidden names:
- A list of numerous illegal and banned names worldwide
- Detailed explanations of why they can’t be used
- How you can steer clear of every forbidden name, including those not found on the list
What Makes a Name Forbidden?
You might be curious or thinking about naming your child something unique. In most cases, you’ll have free choice to decide the name, depending on the country. However, offensive names or those that will cause various complications are forbidden, banned, and/or illegal in many parts of the world.
Here are five reasons that a name might be forbidden:
- If it’s going to make the child’s life more difficult, then it’s likely banned (or soon will be). Some parents think it’s funny to name their kid after action figures, symbols, materials, or crude insults. These names are typically found on most countries’ banned lists, but if it’s not, you still might get in trouble.
- You typically can’t name your child something royal, such as King, Master, Duke, Ruler, and so on. These titles are reserved for people who are born into the position or who’ve earned it. Unfortunately, that doesn’t include the vast majority of the population, especially not right at birth.
- If a country or state doesn’t recognize letters outside of their alphabet, the name will probably be forbidden. For example, California doesn’t allow names except for the 26 letters in the English alphabet. Iceland also bans letters not known in their alphabet, including ‘C,’ as HuffPost states.
- Symbols or unpronounceable names are usually out of the question. If it’s something like ‘.’ ‘@’ or ‘!’, the name won’t be accepted by almost any location (and yes, people have tried). Parents often want to alter the pronunciation, but it causes many difficulties for the child, registration, and legal matters.
- Most countries, states, and cities ban names of notorious figures in history. Hitler and Osama bin Laden are two of the vilest leaders in history, yet some people have tried to name their children after them. Fortunately, many locations won’t allow it—failure to follow the rule results in a hefty fine.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons that forbidden names aren’t allowed. The good news is that they’re usually not common names. You don’t have to worry about accidentally naming your child something unacceptable if you go by traditional naming procedures.
That being said, some of the results might surprise you. Let’s dive into the list of forbidden names in the next section.
Judge, Master, Duke, Queen, King, and a few other royal names are banned in the US. If you didn’t earn the title, you can’t choose the name. The good news is that most of these names, aside from Duke and King, aren’t too common in most parts of the world. If you want to avoid a penalty, stay away from them!
You read that right; Someone tried to name their child Monkey. This name, alongside Martian, was banned in the United Kingdom because it’s merely ridiculous. It was likely forbidden to protect the child from insults rather than saving the public from being offended.
This is another name banned in the UK. Oddly enough, MomJunction claims that the name One Thousand is still acceptable, but not the numerical version. This rule is likely due to the confusion for operating systems, educational districts, and so on. Many other number names are banned in the UK, too.
Morocco banned the name Sarah, not because it’s a Western name, but because it conflicts with their lineage. Instead, parents can choose Sara. It’s not far off, and it’s pronounced the same, so most couples don’t have trouble abiding by the law.
Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii
As one of the most popular (and bizarre) banned names in New Zealand, Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii has to be the list’s longest name. It’s not necessarily offensive, but it’s a sentence rather than a name. Again, it’s probably banned to save the child from insults.
Messiah is another banned name in NZ. Biblical names to high figures are often forbidden around the world. For this reason, Lucifer is also banned in New Zealand. Included on the list are Saint, Justice, Bishop, and Minister.
England doesn’t seem to ban too many names, but Cyanide is unacceptable. Whether due to the toxic relationship with humankind or the ridicule that the child will undoubtedly face, you can’t choose it.
Pronounced Albin, Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 is likely the oddest and most irrational name in history. There are plenty of reasons that it could’ve been banned, but an acceptable equivalent to $740 USD was enough to prevent the parents from trying it again.
There’s no denying the success that Metallica has seen as a band, but it’s not the most successful name. Oddly enough, Sweden isn’t the only country to ban it. They’ve also banned Superman, Elvis, and IKEA (which is banned in two other countries, too).
Binyamin translates to Benjamin, a historical name that sharpens the conflict between Arabia and Israel. It’s banned in Saudi Arabia to prevent unwanted tension.
According to the local government, the Hungarian word for Diamond (Gyemi) was banned because it’s an object, not a person’s name. They have a very strict set of naming laws that review and deny the vast majority of applications every month.
Alice might shock you with its forbidden status in Saudi Arabia. Alongside Sandy, Lareen, and Elaine, it’s banned to prevent association with Western culture.
Germany is very specific with its list of banned names, including Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden. It’s clear that they don’t want to bring notorious historical figures any credit. They, along with many other countries, want to forget these names in the past.
Mexico has an interesting list of forbidden names, starting with Terminator. Additional illegal names include Batman, James Bond, Hermoine, and Rocky. It seems that many people want to name their children after famous movie characters.
There’s nothing wrong with the name Schmitz, but Germany doesn’t allow anyone to use last names as first names, as explained by the Library of Congress. They also banned Stone and Peppermint because they’re not real names (which seems fair enough).
Someone likely tried to name their child Christmas Day in a festive spirit, but Mexico didn’t allow it. They also banned Rolling Stone, Burger King, and Hitler.
You might love the food, but France doesn’t like the name. According to Good Housekeeping, France banned the name Nutella to save the child from embarrassment and bullying. There also might’ve been copyright issues involved.
France banned the name Prince William because it would be bad for the person’s childhood, but also because it mocks royalty. Again, royal titles (including Prince) are typically banned in various parts of the world.
Speaking of royalty, New Zealand banned Royal, King, and Prince to avoid confusion, mockery, and insults. They also forbid III (the third) as a name to save the child from embarrassment.
Akuma is one of the many names banned in Japan. It translates to Devil, which is forbidden for obvious reasons. They also banned a combination of words that roughly translated to Water Child, which could be seen as a water birth (also known as a miscarriage). The couple seeking this name changed it immediately once someone pointed it out.
Quebec’s government initially denied this beautiful name because they believed it sounded like soap.
In North Dakota, USA, local officials don’t believe that a number can be a name. When a man tried to bypass the law with his new name 1069, he was immediately denied.
Mexico banned the name Facebook for many reasons: It conflicts with the company name, it could cause bullying, and there’s no doubt that it could confuse everyone. They also banned Robocop for embarrassment purposes.
As one of the most common names in the US, Linda is banned in Saudi Arabia. In fact, it’s banned due to its popularity in Western civilization. Many Saudi Arabian naming laws ban anything relating to the US or its allies.
Another common name, Tom, is banned in Portugal. Rather than citing cultural differences, Tom is banned because it’s a nickname. Portugal’s government accepts similar names, including Tomas. Once the name is secured, you’re more than welcome to use Tom as a nickname.
Since it’s affiliated with a radical religious group, Jihad was banned in France. Surprisingly, there have been many attempts to secure the name in the country. Each of them was denied and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.
Portugal bans the name Thor because it doesn’t fit their 80+ list of legal names. Many countries rely on a name list that parents must choose from if they want their child to be born there. Sadly, these countries often have a very limited list of 40 to 100 names. Portugal also banned Nirvana for this reason.
In Italy, you can’t name your child Blu. It means exactly what you think it means (Italian for ‘blue’), which is why the Italian government forbids it. They want every name to correspond with the child’s gender.
Whether the parents were referring to the serpent or an insult, Malaysia banned Snake. They also banned two names that roughly translate to Smelly Head and Insane, both of which have apparent deniable reasons.
For some reason, the couple who tried to get away with Prince William tried to get Mini Cooper. Again, the French government intervened and denied their request. Whatever their third choice was, hopefully, it got through.
Gesher translates to Bridge, but when a mother in Norway tried to name her child Gesher, she was sent to jail. Denmark, the southern neighbor of Norway, has a list of 7,000 approved names. Both countries review thousands of new names each year, though.
Violet might be a beautiful name in many countries, but Malaysia denies it. Alongside Apple, Violet is denied because the Malaysian government doesn’t approve names or titles of plants or colors.
As you might’ve already read, the Icelandic government doesn’t use ‘C’ in its alphabet. Names like Camilla, Cameron, Carter, and Charles are banned. They have a list of names that parents can choose from if they’re having a tough time finding something that works.
Much like the previous names, Harriet was banned in Iceland because it doesn’t fit their premade naming list. Some people have had trouble securing passports and citizenship because their name is unrecognized.
Sweden banned the name Q because it’s too short. Along with many other countries worldwide, they believe that a name should be at least two letters. For example, a couple wanted to honor their ancestors with the name J but were denied.
Due to its religious affiliation (and that Judas was looked down upon in Christianity), Judas was banned by Switzerland. It’s not the only religious name to be banned in the world, nor will it be the last.
China banned many names related to Muslims, including Quran, Mecca, and Islam. Whether it was an attempt to respect their culture or to build boundaries and sever ties, China doesn’t want any names that have to do with Islam.
As you might’ve seen above, Denmark has a designated name list of over 7,000 choices. Unfortunately for one couple, Pluto didn’t make the cut. While Denmark accepts many applications annually, they didn’t think that a child should be named after a planet or ancient philosopher.
Read: 38 Worst Baby Names
How Do You Know Which Names You Can’t Choose?
Was your preferred name not on the list? You’re not out of the woods yet. Just because a name isn’t listed doesn’t mean it’s allowed. Almost every name on each country’s list is there because someone tried it, which means your future baby name could end up on the list, too. Here’s what you should know:
- Ask an expert before you try to register a unique name. Contact naming website owners, local political offices, or hospitals. These three sources have to deal with naming every day, which means they’re excellent places to start. If you didn’t get the answer you were looking for, move onto the next suggestion.
- Understand that symbols aren’t allowed. Even if the symbol is at the beginning or end of the name, you can’t choose it (in most cases). Some places also ban numbers to avoid confusion, so that’s worth keeping in mind. One silly name that was banned is ‘K8lyn’ because it could confuse operating systems.
- Never name your child something offensive or something that could hurt other peoples’ feelings. There’s no reason to get your child bullied for their name, nor should it hurt someone’s beliefs. That name group includes notorious figures, insults, or mockeries.
- Google the name and the country together to see what results you get. A quick online search will yield more than enough info. You can check if your country bans the name, then dive deeper into the state. In some situations, you can move, name the child, then move back and have them retain the name.
- Abide by the country’s alphabet. Again, many countries don’t share the same alphabet. If they don’t recognize the letters, numbers, or symbols, it’ll be a waste of your time to try. Consider alternate variations that form the same syllables and sounds if you’re set on a specific name.
It’s not every day that someone chooses a name that gets banned. You shouldn’t have to walk around worrying if a fine is around the corner unless you’re aiming to offend or shock the world with the name. Fortunately, there are plenty of examples of what not to do.
Now that you know the various banned names, you don’t have to worry about breaking any laws. Truthfully, most people wouldn’t choose these titles simply because they’re insulting, odd, or don’t come to mind. However, if you found one that you liked, you can’t use it, sadly.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
- Forbidden names can result in a fine or another form of punishment.
- Most illegal names are on the list because it would make the child’s life difficult.
- Royal titles are often banned for non-royal citizens of the country.