Embarrassing Name Loves of the Past

I was recently rereading an old favorite of mine, The Face on the Milk Carton, and early on there's a bit where the main character is talking about being obsessed with names (a central theme of the book is names vs identity). When remembering how she was 12, she wanted twin girls named Denim and Lace, and cringing at how silly that sounded to her now. That got me thinking about the names I thought were beautiful, but now... not so much, at all.

I remember naming a doll Menagerie (spelled in some terrible way), and thinking it was so lovely. I don't think I even knew what a menagerie was.

Same with Mañana, also spelled atrociously, also didn't know it was Spanish for "tomorrow".

The names above were from when I was about 7, so they aren't as bad as five years later, when I became obsessed with a name I'd invented, Chasenne. Typing it out makes my skin crawl a bit now. I fancied it a feminized version of Jason.


So what are some embarrassing relics of your name-obsessed pasts?


June 25, 2012 8:15 PM

I can't actually remember all mine but I do know that when I was 10 or 12 I had a list of girls names that were made up creatively spelled atrocities. At the time I thought they were beautiful but I do remember them having extra vowels, y's and various other additions to 'pretty them up.'  Shame I lost the list!

I think when I was about 20 I was going to name a boy Mason and a girl a version of Madeleine (but spelled creatively).  I shudder at that thought now :)

June 25, 2012 9:23 PM

Haha, this is a great thread!  I think I'll enjoy following this one :)  In my tween years I loved several of the super-trendy names of today like Madison, McKenzie, Makayla, etc.  I guess that's not really embarrassing, but looking back I'm very glad that I was too young to be naming kids because my tastes have matured quite a bit since then.

By EVie
June 26, 2012 12:01 AM

Great topic! I, too, remember adding ys to names and otherwise altering the spelling to pretty them up. I don't remember many particulars, although I do remember liking Rhiannon without the h (Riannon), which now seems very strange to me.

Actually... digging around in some of my old papers, I found a character list for a story I was outlining, oh, around 9th grade maybe. It seems it was a boarding school story, possibly something along the lines of the Gemma Doyle books, but probably entirely set in an alternate fantasy world. The girls in the class included: Sancia, Adaire, Tamasin (not sure where that extra a came from), Allyriane, Riannon, Bryony, Jerica and Cat. It looks like there were also peripheral characters named Jenna and Calla. What an odd assortment of names—I think I just cherry-picked them from a baby name book without any regard to their origins.

I remember being misled by baby name books on a number of occasions. For quite a long time I thought that Aidan was a beautiful name for a girl because I first found it listed on the girl side of the book. 

I sometimes wonder whether one the reasons I dislike creatively spelled names so much is because I remember liking them when I was young and so they remind me of my own juvenile ignorance.

June 27, 2012 10:59 AM

Oh I love this thread! When I was young I wanted to have seven daughters. I don't remember all their names but what I do recall is- Symphony, Carlin and Abigail.

Interesting combo no? My theoretical boys were all to be given up for adoption. I'm sure my real life son is glad I changed my mind about that.

June 27, 2012 11:00 AM


June 27, 2012 4:27 PM

I've been an obsessive namer since I was a little girl.  I remember Denim and Lace from that book too!  And she wrote on the top of her schoolwork, Jayyne Jonstone (instead of Janie Johnson).  I can't remember all of them but off the top of my head: Reuben, Seneca Falls (after the birthplace of the women's suffrage movement), Flora, Cadence, Raven, Reyna.  Defintely more girl names than boring boy names!

July 6, 2012 12:34 AM

I've been writing fantasy stories since I was a kid, and I have always loved to make up names. In one book I planned in high school, I named the evil prince Gazebo...years later I'm working on a novel in that same fantasy world, and I can't stop myself from loving Gazebo as a bad guy name!

I had a story about some twins named Lelsey (made up version of Leslie??) and Kelsey.

I also played Barbies A LOT as a little girl, and though I don't remember what I named them (I usually just had them reenact fairy tales) but I remember making my little brother play with me, and he always just named them "sister" and "mother." LOL.

Whenever I named my character in my pokemon games I always pretended my name was either Emily or Clara! Very normal, actually!

July 7, 2012 1:44 PM

Hahah yes, my husband actually read this to me last week when we were starting a D&D campaign with some friends! I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Gazebo sounds evil.

By Guest (not verified)
July 17, 2012 6:09 PM

Late lurker here, but I love this topic. I had an on-going story I was writing when I was about 12 that featured my children Alexandra Rose (Allie), Jack William, and Madeline Amanda (Mandy). I later skipped about 10 years and added two much younger children, Samuel Peter (Sam), and Olivia....something. Probably Grace. Looking back, they really aren't bad.
I remember wanting to name the second boy Peter Samuel, but being cowed by the association of the Thomas the Tank Engine train, Peter Sam. I now have a cousin named Peter Samuel, and nobody's ever called him a train. At least I was being teasing-cautious!

October 20, 2012 5:48 PM

When I was little, I used to think Zachary was spelled Zachery, (that was when I was too young to spell,) and then when I was corrected, I still thought Zachery looked nicer than the traditional spelling. I thought this for at least a couple of years. (For a short while, I also thought the spelling of Zach was pronnounced "Zatch.") I thought "Zatch" was a very creative, obscure name. Now I prefer Zachary.

I also used to like the name Jebediah, but I don't that much anymore. I thought the "b" and the "d" blended well together. Now, not so much.

I used to HATE the name Jedidiah, though, because I thought there were too many "d"s in it, and that it sounded weird. Again, I'm the other away around now - this time thanks to 19 Kids & Counting, (not a fan of the show anymore, either, though.)

I still prefer the nickname "Jeb" to "Jed." Jed just is too much like Ted for me, which is too much like something from a little kids show.

As for favourite names, the boy one hasn't changed since I read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane when I was around nine-years-old, (give or take a year,): Bryce, the name of a poor young boy who owned Edward at one point in time. 

I considered reading The Face on the Milk Carton, but it didn't sound as interesting as other books out there... Maybe I will some day, though. :)

October 26, 2012 10:51 AM

I also remember thinking up names for future kids (for 3 girls and 6 boys)

In order of preferance at the time:







William "Billy"

Rhys-Jacob "R.J."

Zachary/Zachariah "Zach"



Origionally, Emma and Billy were my top choices. Now they're lower on the totem poll, though.

Isaac was the one name that didn't have a namesake or I only just liked at the time - not loved. Not a bad name, still.

I'm thinking Bryce is a keeper (my favourite) and I like how creative Rhys-Jacob was... thanks to Twilight, though, Jacob isn't that great of an idea anymore... the craze will disappear eventually though. Not loving any of those girls names now - still nice names, and I still like them, but not love. Bryce Isaac maybe, to incorperate for the memory? ...





By Kale
November 6, 2012 1:25 PM

I remember The Face on the Milk Carton! I actually like the name Janie because of it.

I was obsessed with the letter Z as a kid/preteen because of the Legend of Zelda video game. Zahra, Zala, Zinnia, Zelda, Zenaida are the ones I can think of wanting to name 5 daughters...lol. None of them are bad on their own but together it's too many "unique" Z's!

December 15, 2012 12:59 PM

I was obsessed with names all through my childhood and teens, as well! I don't remember a lot of my faves, but a few were (this would've been in the early 90's)






James (I actually ended up naming my real son this over 15years later)





I guess I predicted the Emma and Jack trends years in advance! Most of these aren't terrible but the only keeper for me was James. 


May 22, 2013 4:51 PM

When I was late elemenatry school aged, I really loved the name Joya.  I named our cat and several stuffed animals that name.  I have no idea where I came up with it, although I like the meaning "joy."  I still sort of like it, even though I know it sounds dated.

May 23, 2013 8:26 AM

I know a real-life Joya and think it's a really neat name!

June 13, 2013 3:07 PM

I used to prefer "Joshuah" spelling (Joshua with an h) to "Joshua." 

I thought Joshua without an "h" looked terrible (probably because of Jeremiah, Jebediah, Noah)

But now I prefer the traditional "Joshua."

July 2, 2013 4:53 PM

Hahahaha! I remember when I was 16, I was determined to have a girl and name her either Andromeda "Annie", Calliope "Callie" or Persephone "Peri". Which, are all lovely mythological names, but none of them are names I would realistically use on a human baby now. My boys name never waivered: it was always James. I used it as my son's middle name. =)

I had a friend, though, who wanted to have twin girls (what is it with teenage girls wanting twins?) and was going to name them Zebra and Debra. (ZEB-rah instead of ZEE-brah) She also mentioned Prism and Pastel as a "cute" twin set. 

July 9, 2013 1:27 PM

When I was younger I'd make up names for characters in my stories all the time.  Here are some of them:

Araña, Spanish for 'spider' - your 'Mañana' anecdote reminded me of this!

Abigailia, like my friend Abigail, but fancier

Rhodon, Greek for 'rose'

Tempest - when I was about 14 this was what I wanted to call my child

I thought 'Charmander' a beautiful amalgamation of Charlotte and Amanda (non-rhotic British accent!) and fantasised for a while that it was my name

Chaise - I thought this was a fancy spelling for 'chase' which I learnt was a name browsing baby name sites for the first time at about 10 years old, but now I realise it's just French for 'chair'

For a while my teenage pseudonym was Athena Raine

Emmah - I was reminded of this by the 'Joshuah' story above: I got a free book with a magazine where the protagonist was named Emma, I decided to add an 'h' to the name, and penned it in after every instance of its occurence.

July 10, 2013 6:58 PM

Paget, rhymes with faggot, after Paget Brewster (rhymes with Gadget Rooster)


Graeson, because Jason was too mainstream

Jaylor, like Taylor, but cooler


By nym
July 20, 2013 11:49 PM

Hmm, I've gone through so many. For a long time I liked Alexandria Eve for a girl and Phoenix Blaze or Phoenix Skye for a boy. I went through a phase of liking Alannah as a name, with the emphasis on the last syllable. But then I met someone with that name and people ended up pronouncing it a lot more like Elena. I also liked Griffin (with various different spellings), Ashling (but pronounced ash-ling rather than the Irish version). I've liked Dante, Valor, Sol (pronounced like soul rather than saul).

July 26, 2013 7:23 PM

I remember in 6th grade trying to name one of the characters in my story Benjimen which I highly preferred over Benjamin, but my teacher wouldnt allow it. I also recall thinking itd be cute to name my daughters Hannah Savannah Havana and Anna

October 22, 2013 5:08 PM

Ah yes, middle school name loves. I remember The Face on the Milk Carton as well!

One of my favorite books is Christy by Catherine Marshall, and middle school was the first time I ever read it. In it there is a character named Fairlight, and  for a while that was what I wanted to name my first daughter. My dad thought it was absolutley terrible! There are also female characters named Opal, Swannie, Zady, Lizette, Mountie and Della Mae, but none of them caught my 12 year old eye like Fairlight. My adult number one name for a girl is Rosemary. While its a more mature choice, I guess the names are a little bit alike both being compound names (Rose + Mary and Fair + Light ).

When I was about ten my mother was pregnant with my little sister, and we had a joke that we should name her Liverona Bun (as in liver on a bun.) When I was helping at a day camp as a teenager I told another helper about our little family joke and she exclaimed, "Liverona, that's so beautiful!" I sure hope she grew out of that one!

December 7, 2013 1:28 PM

I wanted to change my name to Avea when i was in high school.

December 7, 2013 2:56 PM

When I was about 9 or 10, I remember wanting all of my childrens' names to start with M (don't ask why, I have no idea) Some of my top choices for a girl were Mackenzie, Megan, and Mae, and my favorite boy's name for years was Max. The first two are definitely not my style anymore, although I do still like Mae and Max, if only Max wasn't so trendy nowadays... I also remember having an extensive inner debate over Madison vs. Madelyn. This was about twenty years ago, when the Madison thing was just beginning (come to think of it, same with Mackenzie- I guess I was ahead of the times!) anyways, its safe to say that Madison is completely the opposite of my style in names now, but Madeleine has been on my list for awhile :) My youngest brother's favorite name growing up was Miles, and he would name every toy, stuffed animal, etc. Jack after his friend. 

Oh, and when I was in elementary school I used to write stories, many of which had a main character named Paige (all completely different chararacters, but all of them named Paige) I found one of them when I moved out and I still have it. The characters include a female Ryan, (good god) Ella, and Lucy. Well, Lucy was a dog, but that counts, right? I do like Ella and Lucy but unfortunately they've gotten too trendy for my tastes. 

By jmay
December 9, 2013 2:07 PM

When I was a teen my list was Winter, Lenore and Esmerelda for girls, Edgar, Lucien and Clive for boys...not bad when taken apart, altogether though...


When I was six I named our cat Touser, and thought it would be a good name for a little brother if I ever got one, and my future daughter had to be Sky Blue (after the crayon). 

December 22, 2013 11:24 PM

When I was 15, my boy names were Aidan and Liam.  This was about 20 years ago before they became popular.

My girl name is still a name that I love, and it's not popular.  So I won't be sharing the name on this thread.  :)

January 8, 2014 6:34 PM

At one point I was in love with the name Gracianna. It is kind of pretty, but became problematic when I gave it to a character who was a septuplet. Her siblings' names? Anne, Anna, Annie, Grace, Gracie, and Grayson. I thought I was a genius.

January 12, 2014 3:56 PM

Less than a year ago (age 14 at the time), I was positive that if I ever had a chance to name a kid, it's be Freya Isabella or Robert Caspian. But in maybe 6 months, I'm not so sure anymore. At the time, I think it was the matching end sound of Freya Isabella that appealed to me. But now it sort of makes me cringe.

January 13, 2014 12:40 PM

Starting when I was maybe 8, and going to when I was maybe 10, my friends and I had a amazingly complex world of craft-creatures. Some of their names:

-Mintea (MIN-tee, like Minty. I realized people say "mint tea" like "minty" and I thought my spelling was so clever...)

-Xisa (KEY-sa. I think I got it from the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy 2.)

-Anara (Uh-nar-uh. I just loved that it was over half A's, and that every other letter was A. Anara was also the name of a prominent religious figure in her culture.)

Then I had twins Hope and Faith. Those were the names of twins at my school, a few years younger and I thought their names were just BRILLIANT, twiny names that didn't sound "matchy" (rhyming). Oh young me...

And there was Sean (pronounced SEEN, as I believed the name to be pronounced).

And there was a family of Turks with Turkish names (according to a odd name book of my friend's). Thinking back, that might have been the beginning of my obsession with foreign names.