Bad Baby Name Definitions at BabyNames.com

Remember that Inigo Montoya line from The Princess Bride, “I do not think it means what you think it means”? I think of it whenever I come across a bad baby name definition. And I’ve been thinking of it a lot lately.

Why? Because I’ve visited BabyNames.com a few times since my LOL post, and their database is riddled with errors. While I was there, I saw name definitions that were inaccurate, outdated, theoretical (but presented as fact), embellished, fabricated, and just poorly written. Here are some examples:

brody, bad definition

Brody is indeed Scottish. And Brodie is indeed the name of a Scottish castle. But “Name of a Scottish Castle” is not a definition. The actual definition of Brodie is uncertain, though a number of possible meanings have been proposed.

caleb, bad definition

Caleb is Hebrew and likely means “dog.” So where the heck did “rage” come from? This made me think of Rage Against the Machine when I first saw it. Maybe the meaning should be “Rage Like a Dog Against the Machine.” I mean, if you’re going to embellish, might as well go all out.

declan, bad definition

“Full of Goodness”? Come on, Declan isn’t a breakfast cereal. It’s an Irish name of uncertain origin. Hence, the meaning is unknown. “Full of Goodness” is made-up. Delicious-sounding, but made-up.

diego, bad definition

“Short Form of San Diego” is the best they could do? Really? And the cryptic “San Diego is St. James of Santiago” only makes things worse. One theory holds that Diego can be traced back (via Santiago, via Sanctus Iacobus) to St. James, but it’s not a conclusive link.

BabyNames.com has been around since 1996. This means they’ve had 14 years to spiff up their database. So why haven’t they? (Yes, founder/CEO Jennifer Moss, this question is for you.)

4 thoughts on “Bad Baby Name Definitions at BabyNames.com

  1. Oh that’s terrible. They have my name meaning “lofty” for some reason. I’ve always heard strong, and occasionally fiery arrow (which I prefer, of course) but never lofty.

  2. Oh boy. I just looked up my name and it was a total disaster too. They have it confused with a similar name of an utterly different derivation.
    Behindthename.com is the only name site I trust – they have some tiny errors too, probably, but nothing like that.

  3. I’ve lurked here for a while- this is my first comment! But I completely agree with you. I’m forever finding inaccurate meanings and advice on that website, and I think it’s incredibly frustrating. I remember someone in the “Ask Babynames.com” section being told that Meredith was an “old lady name” – it peaked in the 80’s!

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