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A lot of people have strong opinions about baby names. A lot of governments do, too.
In places like Italy, France, Malaysia and New Zealand, the government has the right to reject parents’ baby name choices, and in many cases, select more suitable alternatives.
Naturally, such cases have made the news over the years. HuffPost took a look and rounded up a number of interesting examples. Without further ado, here are 27 baby names that have been rejected or outright banned in different countries around the world.
In 2017, German officials intervened when a couple in the city of Kassel submitted paperwork to name their newborn son Lucifer.
The country gives parents the right to choose any baby name, but the government can get involved if the chosen name would endanger the child’s well-being by exposing them to mocking and humiliation or by being offensive. According to a court spokesperson, the parents changed their minds during a closed-door hearing and instead decided to name their son Lucian.
Other countries have banned the baby name Lucifer. From 2001 to 2013, six sets of parents in New Zealand asked to name their newborns Lucifer, but all six requests were denied. Iceland recently refused to add the name to its official register.
In the U.S., a whopping 26 newborn baby boys were named Lucifer in 2018.
In 2015, a court in Valenciennes, France, ruled that a couple could not name their daughter Nutella. When the parents failed to show up on their court date, the judge renamed the then 4-month-old baby Ella.
“The name ‘Nutella’ given to the child is the trade name of a spread,” the court’s official decision read, adding that it is “contrary to the child’s interest” to be named Nutella, as it “can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts.”
Another brand name that has come under fire is Ikea. The furniture giant’s home country of Sweden has laws forbidding names that may cause “offence” or “discomfort,” and apparently Ikea falls into this category.
In the U.S., the name Ikea peaked in popularity in 1989, when 72 girls and nine boys were named Ikea. In the U.K., baby name experts observed a trend of giving children Ikea furniture line names like Malm and Tarva.
Click on the numbers below to learn more about the other baby names that have been banned, including Anal and Facebook…
From 2001 to 2013, New Zealand officials rejected two separate requests from parents who wanted to name their babies Messiah. The name has also faced legal obstacles in the U.S.
In 2013, a child support magistrate in East Tennessee ruled that a 7-month-old boy named Messiah must have his name changed to Martin. “The word ‘Messiah’ is a title, and it’s a title that has only been earned by one person, and that one person is Jesus Christ,” she proclaimed.
The decision was overturned on appeal, and the judge was fired. In 2018, 1,983 newborn boys and 33 girls in the U.S. were named Messiah.