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What Names Are Banned in Different Countries Around the World

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Sometimes parents really want to give their child a rare name, but they aren’t always able to do it. Governments of different countries try to save babies from having awkward situations in the future and even make lists of banned names. However, the criteria vary by country, so for example, in France, you are not allowed to use a curse word to name a child, and in Saudi Arabia, you can’t name a child Queen even though the word itself is okay.

In many countries, the laws regulating the naming of children are based on one simple principle: a name should not sound like an obscene word and should not cause any trouble for the child in the future. Also, in some countries, names that violate cultural traditions can also be banned.

We at Bright Side want to tell you about some unusual laws in different countries.

France

Before 1993, the name choice for children was controlled by a law enacted by Napoléon Bonaparte that outlined which names were acceptable. Today people are supposed to inform the local court about the name they are going to give to their children. If a name can lead to some sort of abuse in the future, the court can ban the name.

  • Banned names: Nutella, Strawberry, Mini Cooper, Prince William

Saudi Arabia

The government of the country bans foreign names, ones that can be similar to obscene or blasphemous words, and those that violate social and religious traditions.

  • Banned names: Linda, Angel, Maya, Queen, Alice, Ben, Prophet

Iceland

Parents can choose a name from a list that has about 1,800 options for each gender (the only exception is for parents from other countries). However, if the chosen name is not on the list, a special committee must approve the name choice first. The name should work according to the rules of the Icelandic language in terms of grammar and spelling. For example, if a name contains a Q or a W, it will be banned because the alphabet doesn’t contain these letters.

  • Banned names: Harriet, Dunkan, Zoe, Enrique, Ludwig

Portugal

In this country, baby names have to be traditionally Portuguese, indicate the gender of the baby, and not sound like a nickname. In order to make it easier for parents to find appropriate names, there is a special list of names they can use.

Banned names: Nirvana, Viking, Jimmy, Rihanna, Sayonara

Germany

In Germany, you can’t just give a name to a child. First, a special local organization has to approve the name. Here, all words that could have a negative impact on the well-being of children are banned. In addition, a name should identify the gender clearly. You cannot use the names of foods, last names, or the names of objects.

Banned names: Adolf Hitler, Usama Bin Ladin, Woodstock, Gramophone

Denmark

A name can be chosen from an approved list that contains 18,000 female and 15,000 male names. If you want to give your child a different name, you will need to get approval first. The name should indicate the gender and comply with the language rules of the country.

  • Banned names: Ape, Pluto, Cammmilla (yes, with 3 Ms), Ashleiy (yes, spelled like this) and Jacobp

Malaysia

The list of banned names from this country contains titles, numbers, colors, vegetables, fruits, devices, and bad words. If parents still want to give their child a name in one of those categories, they need to get approval.

  • Banned names: Stinky Head, Hitler, 007, Hunchback

Sweden

Here you can’t give a one-letter name or a name that is “obviously inappropriate” and can lead to discomfort for the person.

Banned names: Elxis, Allahu Akbar, K8lyn

Switzerland

In Switzerland, just like in Germany, a special organization needs to approve the name first. You can’t use last names, the names of Biblical villains, brands, or geographical places. You can’t give girls’ names to boys and vice versa. And all shocking and laughable names are also banned.

  • Banned names: Cain, Judas, Brooklyn, Chanel, Mercedes, Paris

Great Britain

In Great Britain, there are no laws that control names, however, bad words, numbers, titles, and also names that are impossible to pronounce can’t be given to children.

New Zealand

Names that could hurt someone, that have more than 100 characters, and the ones that are reminiscent of titles and brands cannot be used. For example, the name Justice cannot be used.

  • Banned names: “.”, Fat Guy, Lucifer, Jesus Christ, Saint, Chief Maximus, 4real, Mafia No Fear

China

In the past, in China, it was prohibited to use the name of the ruling Emperor for a child. Today, all the bans are connected with the language: the Chinese language has 70,000 characters but not all of them can be read by a computer. Children’s names are limited to characters which are machine readable.

Mexico

In Mexico, names that can lead to problems in the future are banned. Also, the names of fake characters can’t be used.

  • Banned names: Hermione, Burger King, Robocop, Twitter, Christmas, E-mail, Circumcision, Lady Di, Underwear, Pocahontas, Spinach

Morocco

In Morocco, foreign names chosen by parents can be banned. For example, the name Sarah is banned because of the foreign spelling, but Sara won’t cause any trouble and can be used.

Russia

Since 2017, in Russia, it has been prohibited to name children with numbers, symbols that are not letters, bad words, titles, ranks, and positions.

Australia

In Australia, there is a list of banned names that mostly includes titles and brand names. Bad words, long words, and words that include characters that are not in the English language cannot be used.

  • Banned names: #ROFL, LOL, iMac, Jesus Christ, Marijuana, Australia, Stan, Sister, God

The funniest thing about all these banned names is that all of them are on the banned list because some parents really wanted to name their children this way. Which of the names seemed the strangest to you?

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