What's in a name, you ask? A whole lot, especially if it’s an eccentric one like Genifyr or Dementia. See, while unique baby names have long been the domain of celebrities (X Æ A-Xii, anyone?), that no longer seems to be the case. The days when parents wanted their kids to fit in are long gone. Now they want them to stand out — without putting too much thought into how many funny looks, mispronunciations, and misspellings will follow them for the rest of their lives.
"People with stupid names, how's life been treating you?" Redditor MrsLadyMadonna wondered when they reached out to members of the 'Ask Women' community to share their experiences. From jokes in school to annoying comments that made them change it completely, some people have been dealt a bad hand from the get-go.
We at Bored Panda have gathered some of the most interesting responses to share with you all. Some of them will spark a smile, others will reveal the real struggles people with rare names have to face in life. So sit back, pull your chair closer, and get ready to take a peek inside a world of living with an unfortunate name. Scroll down to upvote your favorite stories, and if you have any similar experiences to share, be sure to let us know all about them in the comments.
#1My name is really beautiful when it’s pronounced properly, but when it’s pronounced phonetically it sounds like ‘wiener moaner’
I hated it growing up but I think it’s hilarious now. Most people pronounce it correctly, but I don’t correct people who get it wrong. My 65 year old lecturer called me wiener for an entire semester, it was f*****g magical.
I really don’t know what my parents were thinking though. I’m thinking of using a different name professionally.
Image credits: anon
#2My legal name is Kimber, which most people think is pretty cool (I do agree). Some people however, throughout my entire life have found it pertinent to yell “TIMBER” and then look at me expectantly like it’s the funniest thing ever and like I’ve never heard it before.. it’s not that funny and y’all ain’t as clever as you think.
Image credits: Kjadews6
#3I once taught a kid named Tequila and her younger brother Jack middle name Daniel. I wish I was making this up.
I also had a PE teacher at school called Mr. Game. He was a cool dude and clearly had the perfect profession!!
Image credits: quellerosiel
#4I hated it so much I legally changed it in 2016. Much happier now.
It wasn't stupid before that song "Stacey's Mom" came out, but since that song my name has been the bane of my existence. Even at 25, people would start singing the lyrics when they learned my name, just to get it out of their system.
I changed it to Anastasia, since I'm Greek and that's what my father wanted to name me originally. Now I get "Like the Disney princess??" And honestly that's much more bearable.
Image credits: Anilxe
#5I have an extremely uncommon name, to the degree that when I tell it to people I often get asked what my *real* name is, because they assume it must be a nickname.
I think having a unique name has served me well in life, but one consequence people with common names may not think about is that it makes me seem rude sometimes.
I am slightly worse than average at remembering faces and names but, frustratingly, no one *ever* forgets my name. So when I forget someone's name, I always look like an a*****e, even if we met so briefly that forgetting a name should be entirely understandable.
Image credits: anon
#6Not going to say what it actually is, but my first name is an animal. Not like "cat" or something that's actually a name, or something vaguely foreign-sounding like "okapi." Blatantly an animal. Think like "Tiger" or "Dolphin."
Life's pretty good. I like my name. Sometimes I use another one in coffee shops or somewhere that they call my name because if I use my "animal" name then people are just like "what? what did you say? what? how do you spell that?" so it's easier to just say like amy or something lol
Image credits: ChuushaHime
#7A guy I work with is named Daniel Daniel Daniel. He takes it in stride since a lot of people ask if this is really his name. He gives ever changing Joker like answer about how he got the name. My favorite is his dad lost a poker game and had to name his kid the same name first, middle, and last.
Image credits: jvlpdillon
#8Not my name, but my daughters first pediatrician office had a board with pictures of various kiddos and some had names.
Spotted one with this cute little girl and I see the name “Demi” ... I go to read the full name above it thinking I’ll see Demetria, but I didn’t see that name.
Dementia. Was her name. I think of this little girl often and wonder how the world is treating her.
Image credits: StellaFartois
#9My Lithuanian maiden surname meant "a little wh**e". So yeah, that was fun growing up: from teachers and kids laughing, to doctors and various professionals, my sister even won a contest for the worst surname in our country. I quite liked all the attention and had a fun time growing up with this surname but now, even when I'm divorced, I'm not planning on changing it back.
#10I have a "unique" name that's spelled absolutely stupid. Think "Larin" instead of "Lauren".
Every. Single. Person. Pronounces. It. Wrong.
"LAY-rin? Is there a LUH-AY-RUN here?"
No, it's pronounced just like it's stupidly common counterpart.
Ill get it changed some day.
Image credits: Midgar-Zolom
#11I don't know if it's stupid but I always found my name stupid. It's Lithuanian and it's spelled Jaune. Now in Lithuanian Jauna means young (in feminine form), which is what my mother named me after saying eternal youth and all that stuff. I always hated it thinking it will sound stupid once I'm a granny. Like it pretty much literally means young. It's like naming your child 'kid' or 'toddler' in my eyes.
Somewhat luckily, I moved to the UK later on in my childhood and started going by June, and later on exclusively Jane. So I guess it's better, although I still don't like either of the alternatives. I'd change my name but it would be crazily expensive to do it through the embassy or through gaining a UK embassy so not anytime soon. Sometimes I do have people asking me if my parents spoke French though. Now I'm more annoyed about my stupidly long Lithuanian surname, which I got from my Dad that I've not seen for 12 years and absolutely do not care about.
Image credits: nucifera_no
#12I have a friend named Isis. She has not legally changed her name, but, about 5 years ago, at the age of 30, she had to start going by her middle name due to the associations.
Image credits: clekas
#13Not me, but I know someone who’s surname is Potter, and she had a son about a year before the books came out who she named Harry. He’s probably totally sick of it.
Image credits: anon
#14My surname is pronounced very similarly to my username. Unfortunate, but not the worst. Back in school people tried to use it to make fun of me, so I just adopted it as a nickname.
It's kinda stuck ever since and I actually like it, it makes people laugh which is all that matters :)
Image credits: arsequeef
#15My name is a classic name but it is the same as the word "Donkey" in my native language, so in school, the kids would often make donkey noises at me or tease me about it. It stopped in high school or junior high and has had no effect since; in fact, I had not initially thought about it when reading your question, until I read a comment about someone with another animal name.
Image credits: No_regrats
#16I'm named after an unmistakable American state. I'm European. People call me all sorts of American states names, or even Mexico and Canada, as a pun.
But everybody seems to forget that hearing this sort of stuff since you're a child really narrows the puns that are actually original. Most are just improvised and lame, and people realise this after saying it and I just condescendingly smile, and are immediately embarrassed.
I tend to evaluate people who I meet by the originality of their reaction to my name.
Image credits: zeeeeeeeeee
#17My mom gave me a name she made up when she was fourteen (think Renesmee or Neveazulu only uglier sounding). I changed it by deed poll at 17.
Image credits: anon
#18I am Egyptian and my name is Moaz elgharib "pronounced mo'aaz al-ghare'eb" moaz means a place fortified by god and gharib means strange. Most people including arabs dont know hit to pronounce it so they call me mohammad because its the only name they know how to pronounce easily, its been 16 years of being called mohammad and close people call me strange or dr strange for I was studying pharmaceuticals.
Image credits: moazelgharib
#19"Oh like the Borealis?" - Every damn time I meet someone new. I usually give up and just go by my middle name.
Image credits: Dawn36
#20My name is the same as a very famous hurricane (I was born about 8 years before it happened). Our class had to do a big case study on it in secondary school and the jokes pretty much never stopped. Almost every time I introduce myself to someone in a non-professional environment their reaction tends to be “oh, like the hurricane?”
Image credits: schwarz_infernus
#21My Chinese name has a beautiful meaning, but unfortunately sounds very similar to the Chinese word for gross. I hate it so much and am very hesitant to mention it. Luckily most people only ask for my English name
Image credits: hellostrangerhi
#22My name makes people break out into song. So... that's always interesting.
I love your guesses. I suppose I'll throw everyone a hint.
Image credits: SnowglobeSnot
#23My last name is a slang word for 'F****r' in my country. When I graduated everyone started laughing.. but over the years when people started growing up no one seemed to care but I still get funny faces every now and then
Image credits: TmzuXBOX
#24I have a Gaelic name and the area I grew up in was not Ireland. When I was little, ages 6-12ish I'd get very upset at people mispronouncing my name. And then I just kinda got over it. People tend to think it's a lovely name and aren't offended when I correct them. Half the time I don't even bother correcting, as long as you're in the ballpark I'm good. If I'm making reservations I just use my husband's name, it's easier.
I was always annoyed that I could never find my name on any souvenirs.
#25I have what's apparently a rare Norwegian nickname as my legal name. I've given up correcting people I don't know, and just let the coffee and phone people call me Linda.
#26My mother couldn't decide which name she liked better so she kind of mushed the spelling together. My name is Russian and sounds very pretty when pronounced correctly but the spelling is just... Why? People can never spell or pronounce my name correctly, and I've been called "Nat", "Tahlia", "Stacy" (I don't even know), "Tasha" and many more. None of my family is Russian, and I often get asked if I am from Russia because of my name.
Image credits: WaifuD**k
#27Well my first name is normal really but by maiden name is Minger, as you expect in school it was hard but I embraced it and people stopped making fun of it as soon as I made fun of it too.
#28My parents were hippies and in a Buddhist cult, my mum heard my name in a dream and then the cult leader 'suggested' that they change it to something 'easier to pronounce'. I'm not going to say what it was, because it's quite unique and identifiable, but let's just say the difference was pretty significant and the new version was not pronounced the same way and I definitely think it's harder to pronounce. Growing up, nobody could pronounce my name unless they heard it before reading it written down. That resulted in my name being mispronounced by a lot of teachers. My PE teacher would literally invent a new name for me every week and I got so fed up with her not putting in any effort that I started skipping PE. As a teenager, I tried out a bunch of silly nicknames just because I hated my name so much and it didn't help that it was quite intrinsically linked to the cult leader.
I eventually settled on a simple and very short name that almost no one could mess up and started using it when I went to college. I legally changed my name in 2014 and added in the original version of my birth name that my mum had heard in her dream as a second middle name.
The biggest problem for me now is that I have a bit of an identity crisis at times. I'm comfortable with my new name, but I feel very detached from it, since I've only been using it for about 8 years, give or take. I equally feel a little awkward and uncomfortable when my family use my birth name. However, I absolutely love that my mum now refers to me with the original name, so definitely feel I made the right choice in adding it as a middle name. I'm currently pregnant and was very firm about the fact that my kids won't have difficult to pronounce names. One of my sisters disagrees entirely and likes unique names. I think she's just had it easy because she was named after a galaxy.
#29Here's a slightly different take on stupid name. My parents played it really, really safe. My first name was in the top 10 most popular for the entire decade around my birth reaching #1 not once, but twice. My middle name? In the top five of all time. Last name? Top five most common surnames. Do you know how many people there are with my exact name? When I first moved to a metropolitan area there were 5 of us in one apartment complex. None of us were related or even from the same part of the country.
#30I had a patient last week named Ti’Lapia. I don’t think she knew tilapia was a fish.
Guess it was better than being named Tuna or Tunah
#31All of the first born daughters in my family are named Danna. It's a lovely name, but almost everyone pronounces it like dana or Donna or Deanna. My mother will always tell people that it, "rhymes with banana" and that tends to help. Still, I've decided that if I ever have a girl it'll be a middle name and not a first.
Image credits: kittypoocaca
#32I have a friend whose father gave all 5 of his sons the same first name. Needless to say, they all go by nicknames.
#33My first name is Walker and I am female. My old highschool had me listed as Male for about 6 years until I decided to go back to college. The secretary who was getting my transcripts for me goes, “uh, do you want me to change this now??”
Also get countless emails for “Mr. ______.” When I finally speak to that person on the phone they trip up for a solid 20 seconds, “err... um... is Walker available?” Yes, it is I - the shockingly female Walker. I then typically get an apology email later.
Also, I have a joke that anyone who makes a Texas ranger reference goes into the “75%” category and we cannot be friends. No bargaining. Get outta here.
I will say that people rarely forget my name and that helps with life in general.
Image credits: madamwalkerrose
#34Hey. Hi. Hello. I'm named after a sports car. And not a normal one like mercedes or porche...no no. A f*****g weird a*s italian name that is such a common hispanic last name that people will set it as my last name on forms without asking and ill have to correct them. Im not hispanic or italian. My dad was just mad that he knocked my mom up so he named me after the car he'd never be able to afford.
I go by Rae now.
#35I have more than one problem:
My parents chose one name for me, but from birth, have called me a "nickname" that everyone thinks is a totally different name. Think John - Jack but for a girl.
The second problem is that I'm named after my grandma, who we were extremely close with, and my middle name is after my mother. Very meaningful but I literally couldn't use my actual first name or my actual middle name. The middle name has no nicknames.
The final problem is that my "nickname" is actually a pretty common name for girls born in the era as me. *And it's not even really my name, but I can't just use my actual first name or my middle name*
#36My name isn’t a pun or anything funny but my parents gave me a triple whammy to deal with.
My first name is a common one, but spelled unusually. I constantly get people spelling it incorrectly (when they ask my name and spell it incorrectly I understand, my hatred is for the lazy people who respond to an email and spell it wrong. Seriously, it’s right there in the email address AND my signature, it just feels disrespectful to then spell it wrong)
My middle name is a girls name from my father’s home country, but in any other country it’s a boys name. I got bullied about this when I was younger and less confident.
My last name is again from my dad’s home country. Just unusual and quite difficult for people to spell, so I have had a lifetime of slowly spelling it out to anyone I meet, or have to give details to on the phone.
I have learned to love my first and last names, I’m proud they are a little more unique than every last Sarah and Katie I meet.
Hate my middle name still. It’s only on my passport now, which I show to no one. It’s not on any other documents, my licence or anything. It’s not a very ‘pretty’ name and I plan to have it removed entirely if I change my name when I marry.
Image credits: LokisB****206
#37My name is not stubid in my country but in english my name can be pronouced as *Titty*
So yeah nice professional name when working with foreighers.
#38My sister has what should be a very standard, normal name, but for some reason my mum decided to go the "unique" spelling route. Think Genifyr instead of Jennifer. So now she has to spell it out even though it's a name that everyone knows how to spell correctly. Having to point out your name is essentially spelt wrong every time you have to give your information must be so annoying - if I were her I'd just legally change my name to the correct spelling.
Image credits: anon
#39I knew a girl called "Tissue"....... ***legal*** name... everyone in school called her "Tissue"... (pronounced ti-shoo)
When I asked her if she has a nickname or pet name she said everyone at home calls her "Marie" but that's just a dumb pet name.. I still think about this
Image credits: vrvaetty
#40My daughter's neonatalogist had a last name Doctor. So everyone called her Dr. Doctor and her name tag said Doctor Doctor. I guess it was inevitable that she'd become a doctor.
#41My name is not really that stupid, but some stuff happened from time to time again and again.
Dröge comes from a low german word for dry (sometimes dry is used the same as boring).
The two main things happening were the really funny kids removing the dots from the ö to make Droge, which means drug (and we all no, drugs are so funny.. ^^) and (older) teachers using the word when explaining the coming topic might be a bit boring (without realizing its my last name) and everyone else knowing it just looking at me giggling.
Could definitely be worse tho ^^ (looking at you, Isaac C***s, from the other comments)
Image credits: iKamex
#42I mean, it's not totally stupid, but it is unusual and I constantly have to correct people when I introduce myself (they mishear my name as "Muriel"; this seems to be what the brain defaults to when hearing a name ending in "-rial"), explain how I got the name (hint: my parents had something to do with it), and explain how it's spelled (one letter off a real word).
As for how life's been lately, it's had its ups and downs. Sometimes ups outnumber the downs. Not this goddamn week...
But thanks for asking!
#43My mom named me after a (not at the time) nautical Disney Princess, thinking it would be different and unique. it totally still is, but OMG the times as a child people would shriek Disney music in my face got old f*****g fast. I was born MONTHS before that movie came out, but it was double worse was b/c my first middle and last name all rhymed on top of everything else.
#44People always always always mispronounce my name. I often get called Ryan or Rhianna because people don't care. I just go by Rae, it's easier.
My last name isn't any better. Having a very Polish last name makes things difficult for some people.
#45My mother thought it was all well and good to let my father name me after a violent American Indian tribe, but with different spelling so that it was still unique or whatever. If I was a boy his choice was Damien from the omen.
Still salty I couldn’t find my name on a coke bottle when those were trending. That and my name is hyphenated so bullying me always made the bully sound verbally challenged.
#46My boyfriends dad named all his children Tonty because that was his nickname growing up. I'm not sure the story behind it but basically since hes something important in his country he thought it would benefit the kids to have them all named after him. The thing is Tonty is the spanish way of calling someone a dummy in an endearing way and my boyfriend now lives in Southern California where people laugh to his face when he tells him his name. Hes developed this great way of handling it but I cant help but resent his parents for naming his something literally so stupid.
#47I have a very ethnic name, it’s long and hard to pronounce and has too many consonants. It’s a word in Spanish and has a beautiful meaning, but so difficult to manage in he US. I regret not using my middle name as soon as I graduated HS. It would be so much easier to navigate adulthood and career searches.
In my years I have come across some strange names, however...
#48I don’t have a stupid name (I’m often complimented on it once people realise how to say it right), but the pronunciation isn’t immediately obvious from an initial read, and it’s very uncommon. It’s made worse by my last name also not being pronounced in the way it is spelt. Usually I might correct people on my first name and won’t bother with the last unless I know I’ll be seeing them a lot, but it gets exhausting so sometimes I just leave it alone. Worst time was working with someone for 6 years and they never said it right, but it just went too far so I never bothered to correct it!
Needless to say, I use a fake name when I order takeaway coffee, to save the baristas some trouble!
#49I'm a dude named Jody. Watch out deployed soldiers because apparently I'm coming for your girl.
#50My Chinese name is a unisex kind and for years I keep having to repeat it and people still get it wrong all the time. So I would write it down on a piece of paper but people still get it wrong cos it's really similar to this other word. Sometimes I just go with the wrong name bec it's too much of a hassle to keep correcting them. And so that they wouldn't feel bad.
Meanwhile my English first name is a car model.
Edit: Changed car brand to model.
#51There are two problems I encounter regularly:
1. Since my name is in the Bible, people ask me what it means. Then, when I answer *they tell me I'm wrong*.
2. People assume I'm wrong about the spelling or pronunciation of my name, especially on paperwork. My sister actually gets this one worse - her high school diploma has the wrong name on it.