New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

In the world of baby names, trends come and go, but one thing that never changes is the debate they can stir. Some names are universally adored, while others spark a more divisive response. Indeed, what one person finds charming and unique, another might find too unconventional or even outrageous.

A recent survey conducted by the baby name mega database Nameberry has shed light on this fascinating subject, revealing which monikers are currently causing the most contention among parents-to-be. The results are intriguing, highlighting a wide array of names that provoke strong positive and negative reactions. So, if you’re curious about the names that are splitting opinion right now, read on. This is an exploration of the baby name landscape like no other.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Those surveyed had strong feelings about the Greek name for boys, Adonis. The name originated from a Semitic root that means “lord.” In Greek mythology, Adonis is the beautiful lover of Aphrodite. Because of the mythology around this name, it has become synonymous with idolized masculine beauty and perfection. Many think that’s too much for a child and later an adult to shoulder. Despite that, the name ranked as the 224th most given name for boys in the latest tally.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Azriel has become one of the trendiest names for boys over the last couple of years. Understandably, parents are drawn to its zingy yet smooth sound. The name comes from a Hebrew root that means “God is my help.” So, what are folks taking issue with? In Islamic and Jewish traditions, the name belongs to an angel of death. Despite its morbid backstory, the name ranked 734th last year, and the alternative spelling, Azrael, is also rising!


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

In the US, Blair has taken off as a name for girls. We are the only country where this name is given to girls, and last year, it ranked as the 288th most popular appellation for girls. In the UK, Blair is strictly a name for boys. Further, the name has become synonymous with divisive Prime Minister Tony Blair. Detractors like to call him “Tony Bliar.” Blair is of Scottish origin and means “plain dweller.” Those surveyed also did not like The Blair Witch Project vibes of this name either.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

There’s a healthy debate about the origin of certain baby names and cultural appropriation. Even though Bodhi has rocketed up the popularity charts over the last decade, it is one controversial appellation that not all agree on. Bodhi is a Buddhist concept of enlightenment and spiritual awakening. Many feel it’s insensitive to use it as a baby name as it holds so much spiritual significance for Buddhists. The name ranked 301st last year. The surname Bodie (which belongs to a lighthouse on North Carolina’s coast) and the German name Bode are less polarizing alternatives.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Cohen is a traditional Jewish surname that holds sacred status in Judaism. According to the survey, many feel using this storied appellation as a given name is culturally insensitive. But, many parents have missed this memo and gone and given it as a first name anyway. The name landed in the top 1000 for the first time in 2004, and it has been on a slow climb ever since, hitting 277th in the latest tally. Cohen comes from a Hebrew root that means “priest.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

In the Civil War, the Dixie States were the eleven states that rebelled against the federal government and divided the country. Dixie brings to mind the war fought over the right to enslave people. Thankfully, this name has fallen out of the top 1000 recently. The name can be traced to French as a diminutive name that means “tenth.” It is also found in Latin, meaning “I have spoken.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

With so much gun violence across the country, it’s a mystery why a name like Gunner has become popular. Technically, it can be considered a Scandinavian form of Gunther that means “bold warrior.” We suppose people like militaristic names like it because it will give a child a tough name? Gunner was the 387th most given name for boys last year.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

The destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the scandalous Harvey Weinstein has parents thinking twice before using this name. The name was climbing until both of the aforementioned things occurred. It has since stalled. However, there are plenty of good Harveys out there! LGBTQ+ icon Harvey Milk is top of mind! Harvey is a name of French origin, meaning “battle worthy.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Honey is a sweet nickname and an endearing term typically reserved for close friends, not acquaintances. People surveyed said it would be awkward for a boss, teacher, or stranger to call someone (on both ends). However, Honey is rising in the US, and it’s a top 500 baby name in the UK. Is it overly sweet or just right?


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

India, while gorgeous, is not a good pick, some argue. The name is synonymous with British imperialism and colonization of the country. Many believe this name should not be picked unless someone has Indian heritage. It barely ranks in the top 1000 today, which makes us think people are taking the criticism to heart.

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New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

What’s a time-tested classic like James doing on this list? Nameberry polled folks about its use as a name for girls; that’s where folks are divided. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds chose the name for their daughter in 2014, which made it an extremely trendy choice for a girl. People initially thought it was novel and cute, but now, they feel it’s being overdone. Others object because it sounds too masculine. We rather like it for a girl, especially as a middle name. James comes from Hebrew and means “supplanter.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Jemima is a name of Hebrew origin that means “dove.” It has the vintage charm that should make it a hit today. But, due to the Aunt Jemima pancake mix and syrup connection, folks are steering clear of it. As recently as 2021, the products were marketed with the racist “mammy” stereotype. The company underwent a major rebrand in 2022. That means the image will fade eventually, but it is too soon for most.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

In recent years, Karen took on new life as a term for an entitled and often racist middle-aged white woman. There was an endless discourse about the word, and it became so prevalent online that it is now a meme. The negative association impacted the name so detrimentally that it fell from the top 1000 in 2020. It had been on the list for almost 100 years! Karen is the Danish form of Katherine and means “pure.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

One of the most hated baby names that many respondents held negative views of is Khaleesi. From a fantasy language in Game of Thrones, the royal title, Khaleesi, had its best year in 2018, ranking 549th. Many think this name sounds too “out there.” Fans of the TV series were likely kicking themselves for picking this one after the final episode.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Lilith is one of the fastest-rising names for girls in the US. It ranked 270th last year and is expected to climb this year. Lilith is a demon in Mesopotamian mythology. In the Bible, she is a wife to Adam who refuses to subordinate herself to him. That’s given this name feminist credentials in some circles, but its “night demon” image is too creepy for some. Lilith comes from Akkadian and means “of the night.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Virtually unused until 2001, Nevaeh shot up the charts after Sonny Sandoval chose the name for his daughter. It is heaven spelled in reverse… It’s in the top 100 as of last year. People either love this one or hate it.


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Disgraced former president Richard Nixon has scared many people away from this name. Nixon has all the makings of a hit with its fashionable double-N’s and the “X factor.” It wasn’t until 2011 that parents started choosing this name in regularity. It had its best year in 2017 when it cracked the top 500 for the first time. It’s been trending down since then. Political figures always make their names fall from popularity. Nixon is an English name that means “Nick’s son.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Pippa, the diminutive form of Philippa, is popular in most majority English-speaking countries worldwide. That’s not the case for the US and Canada! If you like this name and plan on a life of adventure and travel for your child, you should avoid this name. In Italian, Swedish, and Polish, it is a crude slang term for sexual acts. Not great! Pippa’s Greek root means “lover of horses.”


New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

Most people’s negative association with the name Rex is that they believe it is a dog name. People can’t get past it. Rex comes from Latin and means “king.” Last year, the name ranked 698th.

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New Poll Reveals the Most Controversial Baby Names Today

We have Saoirse Ronan to thank for exporting her Irish name to the US. The name means “liberty,” which is all fine and well, but many complain it is hard to spell and even harder to say. To pronounce this one correctly, say SEER-sha or SUR-sha. Further, people take issue with this appellation and many traditional Irish names that can be tricky for most Americans. The name has yet to crack into the US top 1000, but according to Nameberry, about 300 girls get the name in the US each year.

We hope you’ve found inspiration and perhaps even the perfect name for your little one. These names, each carrying a piece of the magic that August brings, are an excellent way to celebrate your child’s birth month. Remember, choosing a name is a deeply personal decision, so take your time, follow your heart, and pick a name that resonates with you and your family. Whether it’s a name from this list or one that this list inspired, we wish you and your soon-to-be-born baby a lifetime of joy and love.

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