Banned baby names from around the world, from Nutella to Cyanide

It turns out, you can’t call your child whatever name you want: many baby names are banned from around the world. (Getty Images)
It turns out, you can’t call your child whatever name you want: many baby names are banned from around the world. (Getty Images)

Last year, we found out that there are some baby names that are at risk of becoming extinct and grandparents expressed their feelings about the baby monikers they’re really not loving.

Followed swiftly by Mumsnet users who went online to share examples of the worst baby names they’ve ever heard.

But, now it seems there are some names you cannot name your baby. Yep, that’s right, there are actual banned baby names.

Back in 2011, the Pope declared war on parents naming babies after celebrities, fruit or, er, popular sports cars.

In an address to parents, his holiness implored worshipers to try to “give your children names that are in the Christian calendar”.

So Apple, Morocco and Mercedes are all out (sorry Gwynnie, Mariah and co!)

But his holiness isn’t the only figure of authority to clamp down on monikers that fall into the should-not-be-allowed list.

In fact, various baby names have been banned around the world for reasons of taste, decency or just plain silliness.

While it’s likely the mums and dads were looking for something unique to stand out in the baby name crowd, perhaps they should have stuck to something tried and tested like Oliver and Olivia which were revealed as the most popular baby names in the UK earlier this year.

But all that’s too late now.

So without further ado, here’s our list of the top outlawed baby names from all over the globe. Disclaimer: some of them are pretty bonkers.

Banned baby names from around the world


Maybe these Swedish parents were huge fans, but when they tried to give their daughter an ode to their favourite heavy metal band, tax officials outlawed it, deeming it inappropriate.


Germany has an entire department (the Standesamt) which decides if names are suitable. Miatt was rejected because it didn’t clearly show whether the child was a boy or a girl, which wouldn’t go down particularly well in today’s gender-neutral times.


Baby born in Portugal? You’d be wise to consult this mammoth, 80-page government doc (and have it translated to English) that tells you which names you can and can’t use.

It’s actually pretty strict, and a bit on the confusing side – Tomás is OK but Tom isn’t – and Ovnis which is Portugese for UFO is definitely on the banned list.


Back in 2015 a court in Valenciennes, decided that a couple would not be allowed to name their daughter ‘Nutella’.

The judge decided that it wouldn’t be in the child’s best interest to be named after a chocolate spread.

“The name ‘Nutella’ given to the child is the trade name of a spread,” the court’s decision read, according to a translation.

“And it is contrary to the child’s interest to be wearing a name like that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts (sic).”


In today’s Internet-obsessed society it was only a matter of time before someone tried to name their child after a social media site. The state of Sonora in Mexico banned parents naming their baby Facebook because it is “derogatory, pejorative, discriminatory or lacking in meaning.”

The same state has also banned the names Robocop, James Bond, Circumcision, Traffic and Lady Di. (Diana IS allowed though).


Before you roll your eyes, the meaning behind this is actually kind of cute. In China the @ symbol is pronounced ‘ai-ta’ and carries the meaning ‘love him’. Still authorities didn’t think the name was appropriate and outlawed it.

Gesher AKA ‘Bridge’

Back in 1998 Norwegian authorities jailed a woman for two days when she failed to pay a fine for giving her son an “unapproved” name.

The name? Gesher, which is Hebrew for ‘Bridge’. Mum, Kristi Larsen said she was instructed in a dream to give her son the moniker, but the court were having none of it.


In April last year a Welsh mother was banned by a high court from calling her baby twin daughter Cyanide (her brother was named Preacher).

Despite her arguments that Cyanide was a ‘lovely, pretty name’ the court ruled that the ‘unusual’ choice might harm the child growing up.

“It is hard to see how…the twin girl could regard being named after this deadly poison as other than a complete rejection of her by her birth mother,” she said.


A French couple, were keen to name their child after the character of Damon from The Vampire Diaries (who isn’t a Damon fan?). They added an ‘e’ to make it sound more French, but authorities banned it for sounding too demonic.

Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii

Oh how we wish we were joking! This bonkers name belonged to a nine-year-old girl from New Zealand before a judge had her renamed during a custody battle.

“It makes a fool of the child,” he said.

In September, French authorities have banned a couple from naming their baby ‘Ambres’ through fears it may confuse the child in the future [Photo: Getty]

In September, French authorities have banned a couple from naming their baby ‘Ambres’ through fears it may confuse the child in the future [Photo: Getty]
In September, French authorities have banned a couple from naming their baby ‘Ambres’ through fears it may confuse the child in the future [Photo: Getty]

In September, French authorities have banned a couple from naming their baby ‘Ambres’ through fears it may confuse the child in the future [Photo: Getty]

Akuma AKA ‘Devil’

In 1993 a Japanese parent called, or should we say tried to call, his son Akuma (which literally means Devil).

The authorities decided this was an abuse of the parent’s rights to decide a child’s name. Eventually the father backed down and his son was given a new, less demonic name.

Chow Tow AKA Smelly Head

Unlike many countries, which are gradually loosening their name laws, Malaysian authorities have been clamping down on unsuitable titles in recent years, particularly those that aren’t in keeping with the religious traditions of the country. Case in point –Cantonese moniker Chow Tow – which means ‘Smelly Head’.


A family in France who have named their child ‘Jihad’ are waiting to find out if the courts will allow them to keep the name.

The parents chose the controversial baby name for their little one back in August and officials immediately alerted the public prosecutor.

Despite the controversy Arabic experts say Jihad actually means struggle, effort or self-denial instead of holy war, which the word is often used for. Other babies in France have also previously been given the divisive name.


In 2014, the relatively inoffensive sounding Linda made Saudi Arabia’s banned baby names list, thanks to its association with Western culture.


Earlier this year the court ruled a couple could not use the moniker Fañch that they’d chosen for their baby.

The court in Quimper, north west France ruled that the new parents would not be able to use the character ñ (called a tilde) in their baby’s name.

Google dictionary describes the character as an accent (~) placed over Spanish n when pronounced ny (as in señor) or Portuguese a or o when nasalised (as in São Paulo).


Back in 2008 a court banned an Italian couple from calling their baby Venerdi, which translates to Friday. But although naming a baby after the best day of the week doesn’t sound that bad, the judges believed the name – taken from ‘Robinson Crusoe’ – would expose their child to “mockery” and was associated with “subservience and insecurity”.


When a French couple attempted to name their child after the popular fruit, the courts claimed that the name ‘Fraise’ would incur teasing. The parents insisted that they were only trying to give their little one an original name, and eventually went with “Fraisine” instead.


Just this week, HuffPost reported that a court in Germany had intervened when a couple tried to call their child Lucifer. And they’re not the only officials to outlaw the name, the department of internal affairs in New Zealand also decided to ban this moniker, and we can sort of see why.


We guess no one’s really wondering why this name was banned, but yep some poor kid in Denmark was very nearly named after this particular part of the human anatomy. Unsurprisingly the application was denied.


No, we didn’t just nod off on the keyboard. That is an actual name a Swedish couple tried to give their baby back in 1996.

Apparently the name is pronounced “Albin” (yeah we’re not sure how either), and the parents chose it as a protest against Sweden’s strict naming laws.


Moroccan authorities banned this spelling of Sarah as it’s considered to be the Hebrew version. But spelt with no ‘h’, aka ‘Sara’, is fine as that’s the Arabic version.