Does this name sound off-color?

Ok, so we are expecting our 6th boy! For one of the other boys, I considered the name Harry (either on its own or as a nickname for Henry). But then a few posters said the name Harry combined with our last name sounded off-color. Our last name is Palmer. Does Harry Palmer sound off-color? It doesn't to me, but then, I'm not always current on slang, etc. I won't do it, obviously, if the name truly sounds like it carries a lot of teasing potential. But if it was just an outlying opinion, I want to put Harry back on the list. 


April 28, 2012 4:46 PM

Jane7-Fixed your original and deleted the addendum.

Harry P does sound a bit "funny" both in full and in the shortened initial version as I just posted it. Harry is a funny name in and of itself for me. It's like Dick. Many people feel that its a nn they don't want to get involved with and therefore avoid the name Richard like the plague (my dh for one). I love the name Richard and grew up with many Rick's and Rich's and never once encountered a Dick. It's a generational thing or regional or something. My dh is slightly older than I. Also, does anyone get all silly and middle-schoolish when they are talking about Dick Cheney. Um no, that's his name. So all in all, I think its a personal thing with how much it will bother you and the rest of the family if anyone DOES make it into a joke.

April 28, 2012 4:58 PM

I like Hank Palmer better than Harry Palmer as a nn for Henry.  I guess Harry Palmer is a little close to Arnold Palmer and Harry Potter?  I don't know if it sounds funny to me but I'm not crazy about it.  the Henry's I know (all grown men) go by their full names or Hen.

Also I say Haa-ry (like the "a" in "lack" or "ran") not "Hair-y" so it might depend on your pronunciation too.

By Guest (not verified)
April 28, 2012 5:10 PM

It does to me, but maybe it wouldn't to younger people?

I'm not sure if there is a polite way of saying my issue with it....palm brings to mind hands, which brings to mind a particular, private act that is unfortunate associated with Harry.

I know it's a name that would make my husband laugh....he laughs with his coworkers all the time about a senior colleague named Hugh J@hnson. There was also a day, years ago, when some 9th graders tricked me into a rather extended discussion about a character in To Kill a Mockingbird called Harry Johnson. I guess boys never really grow up, do they?

So, I guess that's not a lot of help. My sense is that little boys wouldn't think of it as a subject for teasing these days, but I certainly thought of some potential as an adult.

April 28, 2012 5:10 PM

Harry Palmer does sound a bit like Harry Potter.  I also recall a bad Jr. High joke/pun where the punch line is something about "Hairy Palms"-so yeah, I think Harry Palmer is going to sound a little off color.


By Guest (not verified)
April 28, 2012 6:09 PM

posted by november remotely with limited keyboard.  hairy palms is what you supposedly get if you are a male who masturbates.  i hate to say it, but that is the first thing i thought of.  if you love harold go with hank as nn.

By EVie
April 28, 2012 6:10 PM

So, my accent is one that distinguishes the words merry/marry/Mary, and it was a long time before I figured out why people thought Harry was a funny name. From spending time on this blog, though, I've realized that lots and lots of people (probably the majority?) in the U.S. think Harry and "hairy" sound the same. 

How can I phrase this delicately... there's an old myth that boys who, um, indulge in self-gratification will grow hair on their palms. It's definitely not current slang—it dates back to the Victorian era at least (along with other myths about blindness, stunted growth, etc.) The Wikipedia article on the subject has more context. I don't know how many people today are aware of it, but if it were me I would not risk it. 

April 29, 2012 11:10 PM

I dunno about not being current slang - I'm a woman in my 30s, and it's the first thing I thought of.  Believe me, in the Bible Belt in Southeastern USA, it's very current, and is still used by many adults as a threat (yes, sometimes even seriously) to keep their boy children from engaging in forbidden activities.


If you live somewhere that Harry =/= hairy in pronunciation, then that's one thing, but where I live, Harry is pronounced exactly like hairy, and that first-last combo would be mocked mercilessly. 

April 28, 2012 8:16 PM

Well I'm glad I asked I guess. To me, Harrry is Hah-ree more than hairy and I had never heard of that association. I will be crossing Harry off our list. 

April 30, 2012 12:33 AM

Congrats on another boy!

I agree that Harry Palmer is potentially a problem. With my accent there is no chance of the Harry/Hairy mix up but I noticed the associationg straight away so I think it's probably best to avoid it. The second strike is that it is awfully close to Harry Potter.

Henry Palmer though is fine.

By hyz
April 30, 2012 10:36 AM

Congratulations!!  I agree with the others on the problem with Harry, but I see you've already settled that, so I'm mostly just posting to say congratulations to you for the new little boy on the way!

May 1, 2012 9:34 PM

I agree with the rest. We have the same problem... Our last name is w00d and I actually loved the name Palmer as a first name. Not for us though! I also liked sawyer. NOt using that one either plus it's gotten super popular. Good luck! I love hank - that's my brother's name.

May 3, 2012 12:59 PM

I don't know if this is what you were getting at, but I'm 26 and when I read that name the first thing I thought of was "hairy palms," which is a reference to something when a boy... you know's... too much.  I agree with the poster that Henry Palmer/Hank Palmer is better.


Edit: Sorry, I read above that you all have already been over this!  I do still love Henry and Hank though!