In a 1975 interview, Frank Zappa talked a bit about his kids’ unorthodox names:
Cohen: Is one of your children named Moon Unit?
Cohen: Son or daughter?
Cohen: What are your other children’s names?
Zappa: Dweezil and Ahmet.
Cohen: Is Moon Unit the oldest?
Cohen: What do you call her around the house?
Zappa: I call her Moon and I call Dweezil ‘Dweezil’ and I call Ahmet ‘Ahmet.’
Cohen: I’m wondering what psychological effects a name can have.
Zappa: Well, first of all, I knew that they were going to be unique anyway because of certain other attributes, so why not have a name that goes with it. They all like their names and the kids at school do too. They don’t make fun of them; in fact, most of them are jealous of their names. You know, it always amazes me when someone who is in my age group, or even younger, asks me a question like why did you name your children that. It’s a reactionary kind of question. Why the f*ck not name your kids something like that? They’re having a good time. Besides that, if they ever wanted to change their names they can do it. It only costs about $15.
Cohen: You can’t tell from the name Moon Unit whether it’s a boy or a girl. Had Moon Unit been a boy, would you have named him the same thing?
Once upon a time, Wikipedia had a List of Unusual Personal Names. That list was deleted a few weeks ago. It’d been deleted before, but always managed to come back. This time I think the deletion might be permanent.
So I’ve decided to reprint the list here. Not because I want to steal content, but because I think the list is very cool and should be preserved somewhere.
Names I’ve confirmed so far are in boldface. Entries I couldn’t confirm have been deleted.
Names that come from a specific person, organization, fictional character or product:
Armand Hammer, industrialist born on May 21, 1898, in Manhattan, New York. His father “had named him after the symbol of the Socialist Labor Party.” As a youth, he sometimes claimed that his father had named him after Armand Duval, a character in the Alexandre Dumas novel La Dame aux Camélias (1848).
Christine Daae of England. The Phantom of the Opera fan “changed her name from Victoria Bohm by deed poll” so that “if the Phantom came back today he would have a Christine Daae who would stay by him at the end.” (More on Christine.)
Espn (pronounced Espin). The name of two boys from Michigan and Texas, named for the popular cable sports channel ESPN. However, in Scandinavia, both Esben and Espen are somewhat common names.
Eros-Adonis. Name of a Belgian boy.
Hapoel Tel Aviv, a baby born in Israel in 2006, who was named by his father after his favorite football club Hapoel Tel Aviv.
Harley Quinn Smith, born June 26, 1999, in Red Bank, New Jersey to filmmaker Kevin Smith and his wife. Named for fictional villain Harley Quinn (Dr. Harleen Quinzel) from Batman: The Animated Series. The character was created in 1992 by Kevin’s friend Paul Dini.
Jesus Christ. Born Jose Luis Espinal, he legally changed his name in December 2005.
Jesus Christ Allin, later Kevin Michael Allin, most well known as GG Allin, named by his fanatically religious father.
Joker Arroyo, born on January 5, 1927, in the Philippines. Lawyer and politician whose name derives from his father’s love of card-playing. Has a brother named Jack. (More on Joker.)
Kal-El Coppola, born on October 3, 2005, in New York. Son of actor Nicolas Cage. Named for the fictional character Superman; Kal-El was Superman’s birth name. (More on Kal-El.)
Keldorn – First name of an Estonian boy named after the character Keldorn Firecam from the PC game Baldur’s Gate 2.
Kenesaw Mountain Landis, born on November 20, 1866, in Ohio. Son of Dr. Abraham and Mary Landis. His father had been seriously wounded in the American Civil War at the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain on 27 June 1864. Kenesaw Landis ended up becoming the first commissioner of organized baseball. (More on Kenesaw.)
MegaZone, an American IT/programming geek who legally changed his name (from Brian Bikowicz) on April 12, 2000. Originally taking the name from Megazone 23 as a login in 1989.
Metallica Tomaro, born in late 2006 in Sweden. Daughter of Michael and Karolina Tomaro. Her name was first rejected, then later approved, by Swedish authorities. (More on Metallica.)
Oleúde José Ribeiro, born on 19 September 1966 in Conselheiro Pena, Brazil. Brazilian soccer player. His first name is a badly misspelled rendition of Hollywood.
Minty Clinch. Film publicist and journalist on The Observer.
Optimus Prime of Ohio. Legally changed his name to Optimus Prime in honor of the Transformers character. (More on Optimus.)
Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F’tang-F’tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel. British political candidate self-renamed after a Monty Python character. Born John Desmond Lewis.
Tupac Shakur rapper named after an Incan.
Tomer.com, an Israeli programmer.
John Portsmouth Football Club Westwood, a fan of the same.
Names that are nouns or other words not commonly used as given names:
america Hoffman, son of revolutionist yippies Abbie and Anita Hoffman. Given the name “america”, with a “small a”, to indicate both patriotism and non-jingoistic intent.
American McGee, video game designer (Quake, American McGee’s Alice) famous for having an unusual name.
Apple Blythe Alison Martin, born on May 14, 2004, in London, England. Daughter of actor Gwyneth Paltrow and musician Chris Martin. “Apparently, Martin’s North American booking agent, Marty Diamond, has a daughter named Apple, and the couple asked his permission to give their child the same first name if they had a girl.” (Quote from People.)
Baby Hospital, born in Sierra Leone. Feral child found at the age of 7 by an Italian missionary.
Bluebell Madonna Halliwell, daughter of Spice Girl Geri Halliwell.
Boo Moore, minor league baseball player in the Boston Red Sox organization in 1980s/90s.
Breece D’J Pancake, short-lived writer of short fiction. The unusual initial came from a misprint of his first story, which he decided to not correct.
Canaan Sodindo Banana, born on March 5, 1936, in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). First President of Zimbabwe. His widow’s name is Janet Banana.
Crown Shakur Thomas, a boy who died of malnutrition at the age of 6 weeks old, after being starved by his parents, who were sentenced to life imprisonment.
God Shammgod. American basketball player who played one season in the NBA after being picked by the Washington Wizards in the 2nd round (17th pick) of the 1997 NBA Draft. He was born on April 29, 1976 in New York City.
Heaven Rain Charvet daughter of Brooke Burke and David Charvet. Known as Rain Charvet.
Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, daughter of Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates. Known as Tiger Hutchence to family and friends.
Navy Shuler and Island Shuler, children of U.S. Representative and former NFL quarterback Heath Shuler. Shuler explains: “My son is Navy. It was the only name my wife and I agreed on — she made a list of ten names, and I made a list of ten names. And that was the only one that matched. It was from a road atlas — there was a Navy street on a map. My daughter is Island — it came from Island transportation company. My wife and I were driving around talking about names, and the truck went by. We both liked it. They’re good nautical names. We don’t have any oceans up here in the mountains, so I guess we thought we would use the nautical theme.” (Quote from the now-defunct “Stop Shuler” website.)
Jellyfish McSaveloy of Nottingham, England. Legally changed his name from Steven Robert Lane to Jellyfish McSaveloy in 2005.
Loser Lane – a New York Police Department sergeant, mentioned in the book Freakonomics.
Maybe Barnes (or Maybee or Maibe) a male child born 1663 in New Haven, Connecticut.
Miroslav Šatan. NHL Hockey Player (pronounced Shah-tahn).
Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette. Daughter of magician Penn Jillette.
Muffin Lord. Director at The Rutgers College Honor Programs.
Peerless Price, wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills.
Picabo Street, born on April 3, 1971, in Idaho. Olympic skier who was named after the Idaho town of Picabo, which is said to mean “shining waters” in Sho-Ban. (More on Picabo.)
Pilot Inspektor Riesgraf-Lee. Son of actor/skateboarder Jason Lee and actress Beth Riesgraf.
Little Pixie Geldof, daughter of musician/activist Bob Geldof and Paula Yates. Known as Pixie Geldof.
Poppy Montgomery, born Poppy Petal Emma Elizabeth Deveraux Donahue. An Australian-born actress starring in the television series Without a Trace. Her brother is named Jethro Tull, and her sisters are named Rosie Thorn, Daisy Yellow, Lily Belle and Marigold Sun.
Poet Siena Rose Goldberg, daughter of Soleil Moon Frye and Jason Goldberg.
Rocket, Racer, Rogue, Rebel, and Rhiannon Rodriguez, born from 1995 to 2005. Children of film director Robert Rodriguez and film producer Elizabeth Avellán. (More here.)
Thursday October Christian, born in October of 1790 on Pitcairn Island. Son of Fletcher Christian, leader of the mutiny on the HMS Bounty. (More on Thursday.)
They of Missouri. Legally changed his name from Andrew Wilson to They in 2004. (More on They.)
Urmas-Armas Ingel (engl. Urmas-Sweet Angel). An eccentric Estonian poet.
Tuesday Weld, born on August 27, 1943, in New York. Actress who legally changed her named from Susan Ker Weld to Tuesday Weld in 1959. “Tuesday” was a childhood nickname.
Wonderful Terrific Monds III was a baseball player in the Atlanta Braves farm system in the early 1990s. WTM I, his grandfather, was given that name because his own parents were so pleased when their son was born. Baseball writer Peter Gammons called it “one of the greatest names” for a ballplayer he has heard.
Yahoo Serious, Australian actor known from Young Einstein.
Zeppelin Wai Wong, born in August/September of 1929 in San Francisco, California. Named for the Graf Zeppelin that flew over the city around the time he was born. (More on Zeppelin.)
Coco Crisp. Major League Baseball center fielder for the Boston Red Sox.
Wrigley Alexander Fields, born on September 12, 2007, in Indiana. Named for the Wrigley Fields ballpark, home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. (More on Wrigley.)
Names that intentionally contain a phrase:
Amor De Cosmos, the second premier of British Columbia, Canada. His name in Portuguese actually means “Love Of Cosmos”.
Condoleezza Rice, current US Secretary of State. Name is based on the Italian musical term ‘con dolcezza’ which means ‘[to be played] with sweetness’.
Constant-Désiré Despradelle, French-born dean of architecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Espen Thoresen Hværsaagod-Takkskalduha. A Norwegian radio reporter. He first changed his name from Espen Thoresen to Espen Thoresen Hværsaagod (Espen Thoresen You’reon/Hereyouare meaning simply ‘please’ ). Later he added the name Takkskalduha (Thankyouverymuch).
Legal Tender Coxey, born in March, 1894, in the U.S. Son of wealthy socialist politician Jacob Coxey, leader of “Coxey’s Army.” (More on Legal Tender.)
Mahershalalhashbaz Ali. American actor.
Mai Phat Sau Nghin Ruoi. Vietnamese which translates to “Fined Six Thousand Five Hundred” to represent the 6,500 dong, the local currency, that father Mai Xuan Can was forced to pay for ignoring Vietnam’s two-child policy. The boy changed his name to Mai Hoang Long when he turned 18.
Masiosare, Spanish for “If [someone] would [eventually] dare” (Mas si osare). This poetic form is not common in Spanish, but is part of the Mexican National Anthem. For this, a lot of people had this name, because a lot of parents still believe that is a proper name.
Notwithstanding Griswold, sisters: Notwithstanding Griswold (1759-1759) and Notwithstanding Griswold (1764-1835). Both were the daughters of Jeremiah and Sarah Griswold of Durham, Connecticut. (More on Notwithstanding.)
Robin Vee Strasser, born on May 7, 1945, in New York. Soap opera actress born on the day of Germany’s surrender (at the end of World War II). Her mother had wanted to name her “Robin Victory in Europe Strasser,” but one of the nurses wouldn’t allow it and instead wrote “Robin Vee Strasser” on the birth certificate. (More on Robin.)
Savior God Scientist Allah is the name of a 16-month old infant who died after falling from a seventh story window on April 20, 2006.
Screaming Lord Sutch, born David Edward Sutch, leader of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party.
States Rights Gist, born on September 3, 1831, in South Carolina. Confederate brigadier general during the American Civil War. His father, Nathaniel Gist, believed that U.S. states should have the right to nullify federal laws they deemed unconstitutional. (More on States Rights.)
Trout Fishing in America. In April 1994, a Santa Barbara teenager named Peter Eastman Jr. legally changed his name to “Trout Fishing in America” after Richard Brautigan’s novella of the same name.
Vista Avalon Simser, born on May 18, 2007, in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Named after the Windows Vista operating system. (More on Vista.)
World B. Free. Retired NBA basketball player. His given name was Lloyd B. Free, and later changed his name back to his given name.
Wu Suowei (Chinese: ???), son of Chinese TV host Yang Lan and her husband Wu Zheng, sounds identical to Chinese expression for doesn’t matter or whatever.
Names changed for political purposes or as a form of protest:
Austin Haddock was the name (temporarily) for Austin Mitchell, British MP for Great Grimsby, who changed his name by deed poll in support of his haddock fishermen constituents in October 2002. They were suffering from the effects of an EU fisheries ban enacted over concerns of dwindling North Sea fish stocks.
Byron Low Tax Looper. Former Tennessee politician Byron Looper changed his middle name to “Low Tax” as an election ploy; in 1998 he murdered his electoral opponent, state senator Tommy Burks.
Free Rob Cannabis – Marijuana activist from Glastonbury, UK.
Goveg.com (pronounced Go Vedge Dot Com). PETA activist Karin Robertson changed her name in 2003 to promote the organization’s vegan website. In 2006 she reverted to her birth name, later saying “I never thought I would be Goveg.com forever. It was just a great way to pique people’s interest.”
Jack Ass of Montana. Legally changed his name from Robert Craft Jack Ass in 1997 “as part of a personal crusade against drunk driving after his brother and a friend were killed in a car crash.”
Kentucky Fried Cruelty.com. A PETA staff member who was known as Chris Garnett before he changed his name. He changed it back in 2006.
Miss Alice. A New Zealand lawyer, formerly known as Rob Moodie, who legally changed his name to protest the Old Boys’ Network that runs the judiciary.
Nigel Freemarijuana of Australia. Legally changed his name from David Nigel Quinlan to Nigel Freemarijuana in 1996.
Seán Dublin Bay Rockall Loftus is an Irish politician who has changed his name several times in order to draw attention to his campaign issues.
Yorkshire Bank PLC Are Fascist Bastards. Born Michael Howard but changed his name legally after being charged £20 for a £10 overdraft. Having subsequently been forced to close his account, he asked that the remaining balance be paid by cheque made out to his new name.
Names that can double as words or phrases:
Argelico Fucks, Brazilian footballer.
Be-Curteous Cole a male child born 1570 in Pevensey, Sussex, England.
Jaime Lachica Sin a Philippine clergyman, was known as Cardinal Sin because of his status within the Catholic church. Sin was said to play a joke on his title, welcoming visitors to his archbishop’s residence with the greeting “Welcome to the House of Sin”. (He is not to be confused with the term “cardinal sin”).
Dick Assman (properly pronounced “assmun”). Canadian service station owner whose name propelled him to international celebrity status in 1995.
Dick Mann, motorcycle hall of famer.
Dick Passwater, won a race in NASCAR’s formative years.
Dick Pole, baseball player.
Dick Seaman, early British Grand Prix racing star.
Dick Trickle. With a combined total of up to 1,200 wins in all racing forms to his credit, he has been called “America’s Winningest Driver.”
I. M. Hipp, former running back for the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football team.
Ima Hogg. Daughter of Governor of Texas James Stephen Hogg. Urban legend contends that she had a sister named Ura Hogg, but this is false.
Lucious Pusey – Linebacker for Eastern Illinois University, legally changed his name to Lucious Seymour.
Ray Zin, Owner of Micrel.
Rusty Kuntz, baseball player.
Shanda Lear, daughter of Bill Lear, founder of Lear Jet Corporation.
Young Talkmore Nyongani, Zimbabwean 400 metre sprinter.
Unusually long names:
Autumn Sullivan Corbett Fitzsimmons Jeffries Hart Burns Johnson Willard Dempsey Tunney Schmeling Sharkey Carnera Baer Braddock Louis Charles Walcott Marciano Patterson Johansson Liston Clay Frazier Foreman Brown, born in 2007 in Wolverhampton, England. Names #2-#26 are the surnames of 25 world heavyweight boxing champions, beginning with John L. Sullivan and ending with George Foreman. (More on Autumn.)
Aldaberontophoscophornia Bowen, born June 6, 1812, in Providence, Rhode Island. (More on Alda.)
Ann Bertha Cecilia Diana Emily Fanny Gertrude Hypatia Inez (Iug?) Jane Kate Louisa Maud Nora Orphelia Quince Rebecca Starkey Teresa Ulysis Venus Winifred Xenophen Yetty Zeus Pepper, born December 19, 1882, in West Derby, Liverpool, England. (More on Ann).
Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, the man with the longest name ever recorded.
Lord Daniyaal as-Saadiq al-Amin Salaam u’Allah (Lord D.A.A.S. u’Allah). Formerly Daniel Green; convicted of the murder of James R. Jordan, Sr. (father of Michael Jordan).
Nicholas If-Jesus-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebon, born circa 1640 in London, England.
Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates.
Rhoshandiatellyneshiaunneveshenk Koyaanisquatsiuth Williams, born on September 12, 1984, in Beaumont, Texas, to Mr. and Mrs. James Williams. Her name is “the longest name to appear on a birth certificate,” according to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records. “On October 5, 1984, Mr. Williams filed an amendment that expanded his daughter’s first name to 1,019 letters and her middle name to 36 letters.”
“James Dr No From Russia with Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live and Let Die The Man with the Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View to a Kill The Living Daylights Licence to Kill Golden Eye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale Bond”. David Fearn, 23, from Walsall changed his name to the names of the all the James Bond movies in order to celebrate the release of the latest Bond film.
Portuguese monarchs with unusually long names:
Luís Filipe Maria Fernando Pedro de Alcântara António Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis João Augusto Júlio Valfando, given names of Luís I of Portugal (reigned 1861 to 1889)
Carlos Fernando Luís Maria Víctor Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis José Simão, given names of Carlos I of Portugal (reigned 1889 to 1908).
Luís Filipe Maria Carlos Amélio Francisco Víctor Manuel António Lourenço Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Xavier Francisco de Assis Bento, given names of Luís Filipe, Prince Royal of Portugal (son of Carlos I).
Manuel Maria Filipe Carlos Amélio Luís Miguel Rafael Gabriel Gonzaga Francisco de Assis Eugénio de Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha e Bragança, King of Portugal
Maria da Glória Joana Carlota Leopoldina da Cruz Francisca Xavier de Paula Isidora Micaela Gabriela Rafaela Gonzaga da Áustria e Bragança, Queen of Portugal
Miguel Maria do Patrocínio João Carlos Francisco de Assis Xavier de Paula Pedro de Alcântara António Rafael Gabriel Joaquim José Gonzaga Evaristo de Bragança, King of Portugal
Pedro de Alcântara Francisco Antônio João Carlos Xavier de Paula Miguel Rafael Joaquim José Gonzaga Pascoal Cipriano Serafim de Bragança e Bourbon, King of Portugal and Emperor of Brazil.
Pedro de Alcântara Maria Fernando Miguel Rafael Gonzaga Xavier João António Leopoldo Vítor Francisco de Assis Júlio Amélio de Saxe-Coburgo-Gotha e Bragança, King of Portugal.
Names changed for business purposes:
Andrew “Test” Martin, professional wrestler who legally included his ringname “Test” in his real name in order to use it without trademark infringement from World Wrestling Entertainment.
DotComGuy. Legally changed his name from Mitch Maddox in 2000 as part of a publicity stunt of spending an entire year in his house, on the Internet.
GoldenPalace.com (Pronounced Golden Palace Dot Com). In March 2005, the casino paid Terri Iligan $15,000 after winning an E-Bay Auction to legally change her name.
Warrior. American professional wrestler, born Brian James “Jim” Hellwig, best known for appearances as the Ultimate Warrior in the WWF. Legally changed his name to Warrior in 1993 in order to use the name outside of the WWF.
Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra, actually named Bill Holland, was a painting contractor who changed his name to Zachary Zzzzzzzzzra as a marketing gimmick so that people could find him “in the back of the phone book”. A 1979 Time article said that he was able to achieve this goal in the San Francisco phone book in eight out of 15 years, although he had to keep adding Z’s to his last name because Zelda Zzzwramp and Vladimir Zzzzzzabakov had become the last listings in the phone book.
Moon Unit Zappa, female, born on September 28, 1967, in New York.
Dweezil Zappa, male, born on September 5, 1969, in California.
Ahmet Emuukha Rodan Zappa, male, born on May 15, 1974, in California. Named for Ahmet Ertegun.
Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen Zappa, female, born July 30, 1979, in California.
Jennifer 8. Lee, born in 1976. She adopted the middle name “8.” in her teens.
Jeronimo Dix-Sept Rosado, born in 1911 in Brazil. His middle name means “seventeen” in French, as he was the 17th child out of 21. Most of his siblings also have names that indicate birth order. (More on the Rosado family.)
Jon Blake Cusack 2.0, born on January 27, 2004, in Michigan. Son of Jamie and Jon Blake Cusack. (More on Jon 2.0.)
Perri 6, born in Britain. Changed his name from David Ashworth in 1983.
Ten Million, born in 1889 in Washington state. He was a minor league baseball player during the 1910s and had a daughter named Decillian Million (b. 1920). (More on Ten and Decillian.)
@, born circa 2007 in China. The symbol @ is often referred to by the English word “at” in China. When spoken by Chinese, “at” sounds like ai ta, which happens to mean “love him” in Mandarin. Li Yuming, deputy chief of China’s State Language Commission, did not indicate if officials had accepted the name @. (More on @.)
4real, born in mid-2007 in New Zealand. Son of Pat and Sheena Wheaton. The name was rejected by the government. (More on 4real.)
Adolf Lu Hitler Rangsa Marak, born in 1958 or 1959. Politician from the state of Meghalaya, India. (More on Adolf.)
Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced “Albin”) was a name given to a child by the parents of a Swedish family in May 1996. The name was rejected by a Swedish court. The child’s name was later changed to “A” (also pronounced “Albin”), however this too was rejected.
Boof Bonser, Current major league baseball pitcher for the Minnesota Twins.
Christophpher is the name of a boy living in Grenaa, Denmark. The name was not approved by the Ministry for Ecclesiastical Affairs, and the mother was therefore required to pay fines every month until the child’s name was changed.
Fifi Trixibelle Geldof, daughter of Bob Geldof and Paula Yates.
Flex Plexico – Spokesperson for the United States Department of Defense.
J Allard Formerly known as James Allard, Corporate Vice President and the Chief XNA Architect at Microsoft.
Jermajesty Jackson. Son of Jermaine Jackson and Alejandra Oiaza.
Revilo Pendleton Oliver, American philologist born in 1908 near Corpus Christi, Texas. In his family, the palindromic name had “been the burden of the eldest or only son for six generations.” (Quote from The Jewish Strategy.)
Robert Trebor, American actor with a palindromic name, (Born Robert Schenkman).
Teller. The magician changed his name from Raymond Joseph Teller.
Duncan Zowie Hayward Jones, a.k.a. Zowie Bowie, born on May 30, 1971, in London, England. Son of musician David Robert Jones, a.k.a. David Bowie. (More on Zowie.)
Rolan Bolan is the son of Marc Bolan (Rock Band T Rex). It is said the David Bowie and Marc Bolan decided together about the names Zowie Bowie and Rolan Bolan.
The musician Prince changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol in 1993 for contractual reasons. He reverted this change in 2000.