A non-excerpt from Baby Name Wizard 2

Jul 17th 2009

As the revised and expanded Baby Name Wizard slowly trickles in to bookstores, I thought I'd share one name spotlight that was cut from the manuscript at the last minute:


Gax (GAKS)
Popularity: Rare
Style: Fanciful and Fantastical
Nicknames: FatMan
Sisters: Moo, Spamela, Beer, Soup, John
Brothers: Flax, Vilx, Clax, Eleanor, Xax
Gax is a name you should not give to your child at all.
It's only in the book because my kids are beside me as
I'm writing and they absolutely insisted.  Keep this in mind,
prospective parents, if you're planning to work from home.



July 17, 2009 10:16 AM


By Luckymomma (not verified)
July 17, 2009 10:57 AM

Hilarious! Thanks for posting this.

By knp (not verified)
July 17, 2009 11:14 AM

made my day, laura

By SaraJ (not verified)
July 17, 2009 11:21 AM

My six-year-old son highly approves of this entry.

By Ash (not verified)
July 17, 2009 11:39 AM

That brought a smile to my face! Like this one --> :)

July 17, 2009 11:43 AM

LOL Laura, other sister Sax and other brother Pax!

My dd (5 1/2) names everything that is an animal, stuffed or otherwise, that comes into the house. Her latest "theme" is everything is female and has to end in -lina, -rina, or -thina (Long E sound). I was looking at a picture of a kitten online the other day and asked her what its name should be-wait for it-Kitty-a-lina!

hyz-btw what did you ultimately decide on for the chickens?

July 17, 2009 11:55 AM

Aha, some NEs in the making!

By Qwen
July 17, 2009 11:58 AM

Gax, nice. Thanks for sharing Laura!

By Birgitte (not verified)
July 17, 2009 12:14 PM

LOL! I do translation from home, which can be equally perilous with kids around!

July 17, 2009 12:23 PM

New baby alert:
To friends (both with A names) Annabelle Faith, sister to Alexandra Rae (aged 3). Rae is a family name. My friend definitely wanted something classic and I think she's done a great job- I think both of these girls might very well be the only ones in their class, but the names are also well- established classics. I could be wrong about Annabelle... time will tell!

By Tirzah, not logged in (not verified)
July 17, 2009 2:03 PM

Alum magazine has a baby named Calia. Do you think it's pronounced CAL-lee-uh or Ca-LEE-uh?

To me, Agnes is one of those off-generational names that many Asians have.

July 17, 2009 2:18 PM

Speaking of your kids, what are their names?

By Amy3
July 17, 2009 2:54 PM

LOL, Laura! That's funny, and I like Pax and Sax as sibling suggestions, zoerhenne.

Tirzah, I'd opt for CAL-ee-uh.

July 17, 2009 3:03 PM

I remember Laura talking about at least one of her daughter's names before. If I remember correctly, the middle name was Felice.

July 17, 2009 3:24 PM

nina felice, i believe.

By hyz
July 17, 2009 3:30 PM

Zoerhenne--embarrassingly, I haven't decided on the chickens yet! It's driving me nuts, but I just haven't had the time to sit down and make the final cuts--the problem is too many good options, and too few chickens, lol. This is what I meant when I said that I don't totally mind the American system of bascially forcing you to pick a name for your kid within a few days of their birth--otherwise, I might put it off forever! But speaking of your daughter's naming kick, my 5 year old neighbor has given me some very heartfelt suggestions for the the chickens--she insists that they should be Princess 1, Princess 2, and Princessa. I told her I'd take it under advisement. ;)

Tirzah, I think I'd say CAL-ya/CAL-ee-uh (rhymes with Talia, not Malia), but it's up in the air for me.

By Jodi Y. (not verified)
July 17, 2009 3:40 PM

Well, why not? It seems like the perfect way to one-up all the Maxes and Guses at the playground ;)

By Melissa C (not verified)
July 17, 2009 3:42 PM

New babies born in my neighbourhood:

Austin, Macy, Brooke, Rhys, Josie.

Also thought I would share the names in my daughters swim class... All 1 and 2 year olds.

Chelsea, Logan (B), Lincoln, Jackson(g), Luca, Daisy, Jameson (g)... notice all the boys have L names.

By hyz
July 17, 2009 3:51 PM

Jackson for a girl!? Sigh. And Jameson!? For a girl especially, this just makes me think of Jenna Jameson--again, sigh.

Today I found out that the Kathryn in my daughter's daycare class has an older brother named Malachy--neat. That's a name I don't expect to hear on a young kid today (or almost anywhere, really, outside of a Frank McCourt novel or the like). I don't know why, though--it has a pleasing enough sound and all that, if you think about it.

September 29, 2009 9:32 AM

Joining in with the local new baby announcements...in the past couple of months in WI:

*Johnath@n Paul ("John Paul") - brother to M@ria and S!mon.

*M@cy Sh@ron - sister to J@iden & Aubr3y.

*John@than Wrigley - brother to Br@dley, C@lvin and Andr3w ("Drew").

I also know a 10 month old John (and a friend knows a 4th new Johnathan/John in our neighborhood.)

By Amy3
July 17, 2009 3:52 PM

Melissa C, Jackson *and* Jameson for girls? Wow. Jameson I can kind of see (although I can't personally support), esp since I know it's been mentioned here in the past for girls, but I really thought Jackson was still (and maybe forever?) solidly "boy."

By Tirzah, not logged in (not verified)
July 17, 2009 4:10 PM

Macy Sharon? Sharon has got to be a tribute name.

July 17, 2009 4:30 PM

I agree that Jackson and Jameson for girls are very shocking! Although there was a female Jamison on So You Think You Can Dance or some other show several years ago. And for Jackson, maybe they wanted Jackie, but didn't like Jacqueline? I can sort of understand that...

Malachy with Kathryn is very interesting: I feel like I've seen it with more kre8iv siblings. Or with the more unusual Bible names like... Canaan maybe?

By Melissa C (not verified)
July 17, 2009 4:38 PM

At swimming they just called her Jackson.. no nickname... so I think they liked the full version not a nickname such as Jackie...

July 17, 2009 4:43 PM

hyz:Too funny!

Calia=Cah-lee-ah or Cal-ya not sure but if I had picked it for myself I like the Cah-lee-ah version best.

Jackson + Jameson for girls is just not right!

Macy=new up-and-comer??

Valerie: those names are both classic sounding and wonderful choices to me! Think lately though I favor Alexis over Alexandra though.

July 17, 2009 5:15 PM

Hilarious, Laura!

Ah, the joys of working at home. One day on a conference call I suddenly let out a shriek as my then 14-month-old daughter was attempting to stick a fork in the electric socket.

July 17, 2009 5:40 PM

Ugh. I missed the new thread again! Sorry.

Laura: That's hilarious. My 5 1/2 year old's favorite name right now is Gahdassia (gah-DAH-see-uh). Don't know where she came up with it but I'm sure she'd insist on it being included in any name book I wrote. (Not that I'm writing one.)

I'm reposting what I just posted in the previous thread:

Wow. Lots of comments to read through. It took me, like, three days! I actually had to take notes (I think I might be a geek). Anyway, here goes:

(# 87) Jane, Mo5:
Although I think Enid and Agnes nn Nesta are really interesting and could really work on a beautiful girl, I think you'd be taking a real risk. On an ordinary kid they might be too out there (at least in the US, I know some other countries are a little more open to old-fashioned names). Incidentally, Enid reminds me of the Sweet Valley High books too (I think RobynT said that).

(#95) Leafy:
I also struggle with made up spellings. Perhaps because there are so many ways to spell Kristin and so many similar names I am forever correcting people and in elementary school it was always misspelled in the local paper (for girl scouts or soccer or something like that) and I was always annoyed by this. I can't imagine doing that to your kid on purpose. I actually had a little girl in my daycare (I have an in-home daycare) last year named Alyvia. She will be for ever correcting people, I'm sure.

(# 97) Tirzah:
I agree with you totally. If you love a name you should use it but it's better to be aware of the stats. I watch an Aidan right now and his mother told me when he was born last year that she chose the name partly because she wanted something really different since her and DH had fairly common names (Jason & Jill). I just smiled and nodded... nothing to be done once the baby's named. She's in for a surprise in a couple of years, though... She also said something about a grandma named Ida that she wanted to honor so maybe she'd've chosen it anyway.

I also think that awareness is important when it comes to choosing unisex names (especially for boys). Someone I know chose one of these names for her son (think Jordan, Avery, Taylor, etc) and had no idea that it was up-and-coming for girls. Now her son shares his name with two or three girls in his class and is not too happy about it. Mom was also unhappy when she discovered this. (The boy is about 10 or 11 now.) Incidentally, she named her daughter (about 3 or 4 now) Emerson.

(# 100) Rachel:
I love Mira with Isaac and I don't think it's too unusual. In fact I think it goes along nicely with all of the kids named Mia, Amelia, Kyra, etc. but is still special. Also Anna and Claire are lovely (and a bit safer), irl not all that common. Any of these names would go along with Isaac. I agree with the poster who suggested thinking of what you might name a third child to get a better idea of what your style is (unusual, traditional, etc) and go with a name that fits for this baby. It might make it easier to narrow it down and make it easier for you in the future. PS: I vote for Mira or Anna. I think they're both beautiful.

(# 142) Valentine:
I like Casper/Caspar Thomas but I do stutter a bit with the Casper Perry. Rex Simon is also nice and since fn ln is more commonly heard than fn mn or fn mn lm the x/s combo is less troublesome. I agree with EO that, for flow reasons and for matching with John David, Simon Rex is better but you may have reasons for wanting it the other way. Actually, I kind of like Sawyer with your last name. Sawyer Perry sounds cool, especially with something like Abram or Lando in the middle. Sawyer Lando Perry has a good sound to me. Plus his initials would be SLP which is a cool aftermarket performance parts company. :D

(#151) Qwen:
Re: Magalie
As far as I know this is a French name. I knew two people with this name and both were French. One was a little girl back in the mid/late-nineties when I was living there and one was my age (born in the late '70s). It was spelled Magali and pronounced mag-uh-LEE. I've never heard it other than these two French girls though. (I think it's rather pretty). One of them had a sister Helena and her mother (an American married to a Frenchman and living in Paris) told me that in college she dreamed she had two daughters named Magali and Helena so when she had two girls she named them accordingly.

(#167) Conana
I say 'gram' as that was how a boy in my high school pronounced his name. I've never heard it any other way and actually didn't even know there was another way to pronounce it. 'gray-um' sounds a bit affected to me, i don't know...

An interesting sib-set I heard recently:
A friend of my husband who lives in the Jersey Shore area has a sister with 3 daughters and one more on the way. They are named:
*Amberlyn Rose
*Trinity mn?
*Skyler Catherine
and the new baby girl due in August will be *Irelynn Peyton (like Ireland but kre8tively altered to be confoundingly similar to her oldest sister's name.)
I was told they also loved Nevaeh and Harley for girls names.
NMS at all...

By Bue (not verified)
July 17, 2009 6:50 PM

Yet another new baby alert: Franio. He was born yesterday to my Polish friends who live in England. It's the Polish version of Francis.

By Qwen
July 17, 2009 7:00 PM

KristinfromSC – I always take notes when I’m reading lots of posts too. In fact, I just open a word document and answer people as I read them so I won’t forget what I wanted to say a few comments down the line! Which is why most of my posts end up being ginormous!

Bue - I like Franco. I tried to convince my Husband of Brando for our boys name list but he wasn't having it.

By mollyh (not verified)
July 17, 2009 7:36 PM

i should prob take notes too! but usually i just give up and rarely post because of it...
i didn't see the initial discission of the graham pronounciation, but from KristinfromSC's feedback i can imagine the basics.
i have a cousin with this name (late 20's, grew up in new england where his parents are also from)... his mother (my aunt) pronounces his name slightly like gray-um also, but it's so natural for her that it flows well, it doesn't really sound like two syllables until you think about it. and she semi-frequently uses the nickname 'gray' which i love and still call him sometimes too...

July 17, 2009 8:10 PM

Kristin-I actually like Irelynn and Amberlynn. i had thought about these and also Kimberlyn at one time. However, I think now Amberlynn would remind me too much of the drug Ambient.

As far as Graham goes, I say it as a one-syllable thing like the cracker. Any other way I try it comes out as Gray-ham which is very UNappealing to me.

By Elaine (not verified)
July 17, 2009 8:46 PM

My brother's name is Graham. Usually, we say it with a very punctual one syllable sound. But, being from Texas, if we are calling him, looking for him, mad at him, etc, the 2nd syllable comes out. It becomes sing-songy."Graa--hamm" But, for the most part, he's just Graham.

By Joni
July 17, 2009 9:00 PM


July 17, 2009 9:20 PM

Jackson and Jameson to me seem very boy and I would assume this every time if I read the name without seeing the kid. I could see them being quirky and cool on an attractive girl, but wouldn't go down so well for me on an awkward or not so pretty girl. Is this just like another version of the ugly/pretty girl names we were discussing such as Agatha or am I the only one who think this?

and reposting from the last thread since the conversation has continued here....
In Australia and NZ, Graham/Graeme is always said as 2 syllables, either: gray-um, gray-em, or gray-mmm depending on the person who says it. But it is a definite 2 syllables, with emphasis on the first syllable. The gray tends to rhyme with hay (although that might be a different sound in northern hemisphere as I have learnt from many of these debates). I only know about the Gram pronunciation from too much American television.

Eo - I actually really like Ireland as a girls name, but passionately dislike Irelynn, and with this version becoming more popular I think the appeal of Ireland has waned. I actually pronounce both names differently, but I doubt others would see the distinction.

By Amy3
July 17, 2009 9:28 PM

OK, I've finally completed my synthesis of the names from my daughter's elementary school (a la Elizabeth T's from the last post). This is an outer borough NYC school with 767 students. (Apologies in advance for the length.)

Asian / Pac. Isl 9.78%
Hispanic 31.81%
Black 10.69%
White 45.24%
Not Reported 2.48%

Interesting names that appear only once: Azure, Blerim, Chemiere, Dalilah, Dream, Elvira, Elvis, Fabio, Flaminia, Hegel, Hermis, Howard, Iliriana, Imogen, Jakara, Kalliope, Keith, Laila, Lance, Lena, Levi, Louis, Lula, Lydia, Mairene, Monte, Neilyce, Nestor, Orion, Priscilla, Quinn, Roman, Ruby, Shirin, Storm, Sylvia, Tazmin, Tess, Timotheos, Wolfey, Ypapanti

Numbers in parentheses indicate total number with that name (exact spelling). I've combined based on a variety of totally subjective factors.

Aaliyah (2), Aliya
Al, Alfred, Alana, Allan, Allanah, Albina, Albion, Alyssa (2)
Alec, Alessio, Alex (2), Alexander (7), Alexandre
Alexa, Alexandria, Alexia
Ana (2), Anastasia, Ani, Anna (4), Annabelle, Annie
Andrew (4), Andy
Ariana, Ariane, Arianna, Ariel (2), Ariela

Ben (6), Benjamin
Branden, Brandon (2)
Brandi, Brandy
Briana, Brianna

Camila, Camille (2)
Caroline (2), Carolyne
Catherine (2), Cathy, Katherine (3), Kathryn, Katie (3)
Charlotte (2)
Chris (2), Christian (3), Christopher (3), Cris, Kristian (2)
Christina (2), Kristen, Kristiana, Kristina
Claudia (2)
Coco (2)
Crystal (2)

Daniel (5), Danil, Daniella, Danielle
Darian (2), Darien
Davi, David (6)
Deniz, Dennis
Destiny (2)
Diana (3)
Dominica, Dominika
Dylan (5), Dylon

Eliana (2), Elias (2), Elijah (3)
Elisa, Elisabeth, Elizabeth, Lisbeth, Liza
Ella (2), Ellie
Emely, Emily (7), Emma, Emmalee
Erica, Erika
Esteban, Esteven
Ethan (6)
Evan, Ivan, Evangelina

Felipe, Filip (2), Philip (2), Phillip
Flora, Florence

Gabi, Gabriella, Gaby, Gabriel (3)
Gary (2)
Genesis (2)
George, Jorge, Georgia (2)
Giana, Gianni

Hanna, Hannah
Helen, Helena, Heliannie

Ian (4)
Isaac (2)
Isabel, Isabella (2), Isabelle (2), Isavella
Isaia, Isaiah (2), Issiah, Iziah

Jack (3), Jackson (2)
Jacob (6), Jacques, Jake (2), Jakey, Jakob
Jay, Jayson, Jayla, Jaylene, Jaden, Jayden, Jaydon
Jaime, James (2)
Jasmine (2)
Javier, Xavier
Jenna, Jennie, Jennifer
Jeremy (2), Jerry (2)
Jesse (2), Jessica (2)
Joe, Joey, Jose (3), Joseph (2), Jozef, Joelle, Josephine, Yoseph
Johanna, John (2), John Justin, John Paul, John-Pierre, Jon, Jonathan (3), Juan
Jonah (2), Jonas
Jordan (4)
Josh (2), Joshua (7)
Joy (2), Joyce
Julia (4), Julie, Juliette, Julian
Justin (11)

Kaelyn, Kalyn, Kaitlyn, Katelyn, Kayla, Kaylee
Kendall, Kenneth (4), Kennedy, Kenya
Kevin (3)

Laura (2), Lauren (2), Lauryn, Lawrence (2)
Liam (3)
Lindon, Lindsay
Luca (2), Lucas, Lucia, Lucy, Luka

Madeline (2), Madison
Manuel (3)
Marco, Marcus, Markus
Maria, Mariama, Marie, Marietta, Mary (2)
Marta, Martin
Mateusz, Matt (2), Mattan, Matthew (8)
Max (3), Maxwell
Maya (4)
Melanie (3), Melissa (2), Melodie, Melody
Mia (3)
Michael (7), Michaela, Michelle, Mikaela, Mikayla, Mike, Mikey
Mila, Milind, Milo
Miranda (2)

Natalie (2), Natalie Ann, Natasha, Nathalia
Nathaniel (2)
Naya, Nayela
Nicholas (2), Nick (2), Nico (2), Nicole (2), Nikia
Nina (2)
Noa (2), Noah (5)

Olivia (4)
Pablo (2)
Peter (5)

Rachel (4), Rachelle, Roshelle
Rafael, Raffi, Raphael
Rebecca (2)
Rhianna, Rhiannon
Ricardo, Richie
Robby (2)
Rory (2)
Ross (2)
Ryan (4)

Sam (2), Samantha (9), Samuel (2)
Sandra, Saranda
Sara, Sarah (2)
Scott (2)
Sean (2), Sean John, Shawn (2)
Sebastian, Sebi
Shaya, Shaylom
Sofia (2), Sophea, Sophia (5), Sophie (2)
Stephanie (3), Stephen, Steven (2)
Sydney (2), Syeda

Taylor (2)
Thomas, Tommy (3)
Tiffany (3)
Tyler (4)

Will, William (2)
Zachary, Zack
Zoe (3), Zoia

July 17, 2009 9:29 PM

I definitely see (and hear) a difference between Ireland and Irelynn. Actually when I heard Amberlyn I liked it but they never call her that, they call her Amber and I don't like how similar Amberlyn and Irelynn are. If they were using Ireland it wouldn't be so bad but Irelynn just sounds made up to me (and it's so close to Amberlyn!) It's the same reason why I could never name a third daughter Adeline (already have a Caroline). For some people this is not a problem but it is for me.

Jameson I suppose I could see on a girl (although my good friend has a male dog named this so I don't know...) but Jackson is totally a boys name to me.

July 17, 2009 9:45 PM

Thanks, Amy3! The one that really stood out for me is Hegel. That is a lot to live up to.

KristinFromSC, There is a wonderful novel called "Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer" by Steven Millhauser (it won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize). Two of the main characters are named Emmeline and Caroline, and somehow it works. I agree that I wouldn't do that in real life, but in this novel, I just loved it.

I came across my very first Miley today--I was very excited. Hee hee.

July 17, 2009 10:20 PM

Ooh, I once wanted to name a kid Orion. I thought it was a great twist on Ryan. And I was going to go with constellation themes and have a Lyra also.

Amy3's post also reminded me of the name I dreamt: Linden. I think maybe Linden James?

By knp (not verified)
July 17, 2009 11:08 PM

I have had a great, name filled evening. My dh is gone for the night and I was lonely, so I headed to B&N to buy BNW2 and read through some other name books. 3 contented hrs later I am home.

One comment from looking through other books: I was surprised at one book calling Ramona=Vintage Chic. It is much too connected to the books for me to believe that.

hyz: to maybe help with the chickens, my choices would be currently Fennel, Yarrow, and Sage-- those three seem nice (not jokey, a little elegant). Depends on the personality of your chickens though-- I go off of personality over looks.

Cool/different but nice names I saw/thought of while browing:
g:Alessia, Vietta, Verena, Ellera, Noemi
b:Rodin, Delano, Vieno, Conrad

RobynT: I like Orion too- dh even approves. more likely as a middle though

I cannot see Jackson on a girl at all. maybe with a different spelling? Jaxin?

Amy3: 7 Michaels--that name has staying power! But Justin out-did it with 11. I hope Hegel isn't after Katherine... I like Azure and Nayela

I like Irelynn and Ireland, but yes, I say them differently

By Annee (not verified)
July 17, 2009 11:18 PM

MALACHI [#162]
Gender: Masculine
Usage: Biblical, Jewish, English
Other Scripts: מַלְאָכִי (Hebrew)
Pronounced: MAL-ə-kie (English)
Means "my messenger" or "my angel" in Hebrew. This was one of the minor prophets in the Old Testament, the author of the Book of Malachi, which some claim foretells the coming of Christ. In England the name came into use after the Protestant Reformation.

Gender: Masculine
Usage: Irish
Anglicized form of MAELEACHLAINN influenced by the spelling of MALACHI.

By Liz & Louka (not verified)
July 18, 2009 12:19 AM

Anna, (from last thread) gram flour is different from graham flour. As PunkPrincessPhD said, gram flour is an Indian ingredient made of lentils or chickpeas, whereas graham flour is what graham crackers are made from, a kind of wholemeal wheat I believe. In the USA I imagine they would be pronounced the same way, but in most of the rest of the English-speaking world they would not.

July 18, 2009 1:18 AM

Amy3- thanks so much for that labor of love! I really enjoyed perusing it. Nine Samanthas, huh? That seems like such a dated name to me... I would say more, but am falling asleep.. time for bed.

July 18, 2009 1:23 AM

Amy3-thanks for sharing! it makes me want to do this too although I will probably wait till the school year and post my dd's K class. I was surprised by 4 Ian's and 4 Kenneth's as I didn't think they were that popular of names.

Maybe Jacsynne/Jaksin/Jacksyn would be better. I like the Y in this one and would go with the last if it were me.

RobynT-Linden James is nice.

Valentine-Carrying you over from last thread. I like the Flynn and Caspar honoring ideas. I think maybe Simon Flynn is the best "match" to your other son and I would not use Flynn in the FN spot if it were me. I agree it might get reversed often.

By Amy3
July 18, 2009 8:19 AM

Valentine, I'm responding to your last comment on the other thread too. Given the story you related, I like Caspar best, but perhaps you should check with your dad to see if the reference would be OK with him? What about Caspar Simon?

By MelissaBKB (not verified)
July 18, 2009 8:43 AM

Did everyone see the story on "Top 10 ‘bad boy’ baby names" ?


My first reaction was to think, Well, if naming trends are local, and a particular disadvantaged area picks up on a name, I don't think we can assert that there's any kind of correlation to an uptick in crime/delinquency. It's reasonable to assume socio-economic factors.

However, the authors said it was having an "unusual" or "offbeat" name that "increase[s] the tendency toward juvenile delinquency," due to social factors (like teasing).

I think there's more digging to be done. There's no sense in tarnishing a name that people have or want to use because of poor statistical analysis. And if people are already laughing off the findings (as stated in the article), what is the point of this work anyway? When an analysis like this comes out, does it affect how you think about the names implicated? Would you think twice about a name because of it?

By A (not verified)
July 18, 2009 9:29 AM

I liked Malachy if we were having a boy- but we are having a girl-
its like a celtic form of Michael- which I like the sound of but there are enough of! We have 3 in our family alone! And None are jr.

By Beth the original (not verified)
July 18, 2009 10:29 AM

Urgh, I really hate the -son names on girls. I forgive all who use McKenna or Mackenzie as possibly not knowing that "Mac" means "son of," but when "son" is right there? "This is my daughter, son of James"??? The quest for originality leads to some ding-battery, methinks.

By Bue (not verified)
July 18, 2009 3:07 PM

MelissaBKB - thanks for posting that. What a ridiculous study! What immediately jumps out at me as making absolutely no sense is that the authors are asserting that's it's having an "offbeat", teasable name that may lead to increased delinquency - then they cite Luke as one of the top "bad boy" names, which was a top 200 name in the 80s and top 100 in the 90s (the years of the study) and has nothing unusual or tease-worthy about it. It's similar with Malcolm and Walter - if you look at the stats for those years, they're not "offbeat" names.

This is either extremely silly or there's got to be more to it. I'd like to know if the research was done in a particular community or geographical area.

By Anna (not verified)
July 18, 2009 4:08 PM

"Top 10 ‘bad boy’ baby names"

I have access to scientific journals so I found the research paper (RP) the MSNBC-article referred to. In short: There are some elements of truth to it but the MSNBC-article exaggerates the conclusion from the PR and doesn't include the some interesting discussion points. Basically, I'd say that the journalist who wrote the MSNBC-article possibly didn't fully understand the RP and that he/she in order to get a good story out of it had to select and exaggerate a bit.

Quotes from the RP conclusion:
"A 10 percent increase in the popularity of a name is associated with a 3.7 percent decrease in the number of juvenile delinquents who have that name."

"We show that unpopular names are associated with juveniles who live in nontraditional households, such as female-headed households or households without two parents. In addition, juvenile delinquents with unpopular names are more likely to reside in counties with lower socioeconomic status. These two findings suggest that unpopular names may merely be correlated with omitted factors (disadvantage home environment) that affect the propensity toward juvenile delinquency rather than being the cause of juvenile delinquency."

"... further research should explore more fully the issues of causality and the name-crime link. Any such future research should acknowledge, as in this study, a methodological limitation in using data on juveniles who are formally adjudicated. Previous research has shown that adjudicated delinquents are not the full population of all juvenile offenders, since official crime data do not contain self-reported crime."

"First name characteristics may have implications for other types of crime and law research. [...] Do jurors use information on the defendant’s name to help decide guilt or punishment? In a related context, Figlio (2005) contends that teachers’ perceptions of students are dependent on the names of their students, which, in turn, may affect student test scores. It is possible that police officers may profile based on a person’s first name, causing officers to further interrogate and physically search people with unpopular names. For example, police traffic stops may more frequently result in vehicle searches of drivers who have unique names. "

Since I'm quoting directly from the RP, I'll include the full reference to it:

David E. Kalist, Shippensburg University
Daniel Y. Lee, Shippensburg University
SOCIAL SCIENCE QUARTERLY, Volume 90, Number 1, March 2009

By Anna (not verified)
July 18, 2009 4:12 PM


From the RP (#49):
"To test for a relationship between first names and juvenile delinquency,
we use two data sets from a large state. [...] Because of confidentiality concerns, we signed an agreement not to disclose the identity of the state. "