Will “North West” Make Pun Names Trendy?

North West - Pun Baby Name

Last week, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian welcomed their first child, a baby girl.

Most people thought the couple would opt for a K-name, in keeping with family tradition (Kris, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Kendall, Kylie). Did they?

Nope! Instead they went for North, with no middle name. So the baby girl’s full name is North West.

Ironically, Kim laughed at the suggestion of “North West” on Jay Leno just a few weeks ago.

Here’s what Grandma Kris had to say about the name:

Kim sort of explained it to me. She said North is the highest power. And their baby North, their little girl, is the highest point and power between the two of them. So I thought that was really cool.

Personal significance aside, the internet has been abuzz with reactions — mostly negative:

The name quickly spawned plenty of punchlines, with many Twitter users joking that “Key” and “Wild” must already have been taken.

Perhaps in anticipation of this type of response, Kim and Kanye were sure to leak the fact that they’d be calling North by the noncontroversial pet name “Nori.”

At the end of the day, though, a pet name cannot offset a pun name.

So now, here’s the question:

  • Do you think “North West” will inspire/embolden more parents to bestow pun names this year?

I don’t have a way to measure pun name frequency, unfortunately, so we’ll have to rely on anecdotal evidence for this one. So I’ll keep my eyes peeled for pun names in the coming months. If you spot any, please let me know.


Update, 10/20/20: Wondering whether baby North West had an influence on U.S. baby names?

She had a slight influence on North, which saw an uptick in usage as a boy name in 2013, and finally debuted as a girl name in 2015:

  • 2015: 6 baby girls and 10 baby boys named North [debut for girls]
  • 2014: 13 baby boys named North
  • 2013: 21 baby boys named North [peak]
  • 2012: 13 baby boys named North
  • 2011: 20 baby boys named North

She had a much stronger influence on the Nori, which, according to the latest data (2019), is currently sitting just outside the top 1,000.

  • 2015: 134 baby girls and 9 baby boys named Nori
  • 2014: 102 baby girls and 13 baby boys named Nori
  • 2013: 29 baby girls named Nori
  • 2012: 11 baby girls named Nori
  • 2011: 18 baby girls named Nori

(Nori is reminding me of Naleigh, which also saw higher usage thanks to a celebrity baby nickname.)

And, while I’m in here updating this post, I’ll throw in the names of the three babies Kim and Kanye have welcomed since the arrival of Nori…

Saint (boy, born in December 2015) was named after the fact that his parents considered him a “blessing” after Kim’s difficult pregnancy. In 2018, the name Saint entered the top 1,000 for the first time ever.

  • 2018: 256 baby boys named Saint [rank: 858th]
  • 2017: 141 baby boys named Saint
  • 2016: 115 baby boys named Saint
  • 2015: 39 baby boys named Saint
  • 2014: 33 baby boys named Saint
  • 2013: 22 baby boys named Saint

Chicago, “Chi” (girl, born in January 2018) was named after the city where Kanye was raised. The same year, the name Chicago, which had only ever popped up as a boy name in the data, debuted as a girl name:

  • 2019: 5 baby boys named Chicago
  • 2018: 6 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Chicago [debut for girls]
  • 2017: unlisted
  • 2016: unlisted

Psalm (boy, born May 2019) got his name from the biblical Book of Psalms. We don’t have the 2020 data yet, so we’ll have to wait and see what happens with the name Psalm, but in 2019 it more than doubled in usage for baby boys:

  • 2020: …?
  • 2019: 7 baby girls and 16 baby boys named Psalm
  • 2018: 8 baby girls and 7 baby boys named Psalm
  • 2017: 11 baby girls and 5 baby boys named Psalm

Which of these four noun-names names — North, Saint, Chicago, or Psalm — do you like best?

Sources: Others named North praise Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s baby name choice, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Name Baby Daughter North West, Nicknamed “Nori”, Kris Jenner: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West Made a “Joint Decision” in Naming Baby North, From Chicago and Psalm to Reign and Stormi: The Meanings Behind the Kardashian Kids’ Names

10 thoughts on “Will “North West” Make Pun Names Trendy?

  1. Please, no. Ima Hogg is the worst of these. Makes me long for the rumored Klementine.

  2. They probably did start a trend. Non Hollywood parents- to be are incapable of thinking for themselves. They’ve relied on this “famous for being famous” family to name thousands of children Khloe, Mason & Penelope… and North will jump up soon too, just wait. How will they raise kids who think for themselves if their own parents couldn’t think for themselves with their child’s name

  3. Forgot all about this!

    I mentioned brothers named “South East West” and “North West” toward the end of my Unusual Name Combinations post from late last year.

    Some of the other pun-names from that page: Gold Mine, Married Young, Mud Brown, Never Fail, Orchestra Harp, Sea Shore, Henry Ford Carr, Jolly Jingle Bell, Little Bit Moore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.