Denis/Dennis

Hi, we would like to call our boy "Denis" (notice single "n"). My husband and I come from central Europe where the name is quite popular. But we would like to get an opinion from some US folks as this is where our son will grow up. It seems that the name Dennis/Denis is rarely used for babies nowadays and we don't know why. Does the name sound weird to you? We know the "Dennis the menace" stuff - is this why people don't give the name more often? Or because of Dennis Rodman? :)

Replies

1
January 7, 2014 9:06 AM

I don't think there's a reason other than that is has fallen out of fashion, much like Donald, Dorothy, and Gerald. Names tend to come back into fashion after about 100 years, so Dennis should start to make a comeback in about ten years. I would spell it Dennis as it makes the pronunciation clearer, plus it's also bothered me that the spelling of Denis is so close to that of, um, the male member.

2
January 7, 2014 10:46 AM

I know a whole cluster of Dutch men aged about 40 named Dennis, but I haven't run across any small children with that name.  I wouldn't let the fact that it is out of fashion stop me if that was the name I liked.  Denis, however, is the French spelling.  I would pronounce it Den-ee (as in St. Denis in the environs of Paris), rather than with the -s.  If you want the s pronunciation, I would spell it Dennis to avoid ambiguity.

3
January 7, 2014 12:35 PM

This (minus knowing the Dutch men). I'd pronounce them differently.

And yes, Dennis is simply out of style. I'd expect a Dennis to be older/middle age. Now, that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with the name, it's just not currently fashionable. It doesn't have a negative association or anything.

4
By EVie
January 8, 2014 12:46 AM

Denis is also the closest transliteration of the Russian spelling. I have a relative named Denis who was adopted from Russia as an older child (so he kept his original name). Not sure if he gets any pronunciation confusion—I haven't heard of it if he has.

5
By Maky
January 8, 2014 3:03 PM

Thank you all for your feedbacks. We will probably name our boy Dennis, with double "n" to avoid confusion with the pronunciation. We don't mind the name is out of fashion if there is no other problem with it. Thanks again, you helped us a lot!

6
January 12, 2014 1:09 PM

Depending on where you are, I wouldn't worry too much about the pronunciation issue, if you prefer the single n.  In the US, the comedian Denis Leary is quite well known, and most people will assume his pronunciation.