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Baby-Name Regulation: What Would the Celebrities Do?

Jon Whittle

I have joked that I'd like to name my first child Google Caracas. Google as in Google; Caracas as in my favorite New York City restaurant. (I'm admitting this publicly so that when this name becomes wildly popular, I will be credited with inventing it.) I can't take all the credit, though. In 2005, a Swedish baby was born and given the name Oliver Google.

But Sweden doesn't let just any name fly. The naming law in Sweden states that "first names shall not be approved if they can cause offense or can be supposed to cause discomfort for the one using it, or names which for some obvious reason are not suitable as a first name." Citizens can only change their name once, and if they do, must retain at least one of their original names in their title. Names like Metallica, Superman, Veranda, Idea, Elvis, and Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced Albin), have also been rejected.

Check out Mental Floss' breakdown of 8 countries and the somewhat whacky lines they've drawn separating bunk-baby namesĀ from legit ones, like China's system that names most babies based on the ability of computer scanners to read those names on national identification cards, Denmark's list of 7,000 pre-approved names parents must choose from, or Germany's rule that a first name must be a clear indication of the baby's gender. (So I guess Apple would be out of the question.)