My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

Find baby name inspiration and advice on the Mumsnet Baby Names forum.

Baby names

Choosing “pretentious” boys names, even if some will judge you?

300 replies

Sevendayhigher · 28/09/2023 23:47

My husband and I are expecting a baby in the next month (don’t know the sex) and we’re struggling with names, because most of the boys’ names we love are considered by most to be “pretentious”. To make matters worse, we have a double-barrelled surname which, paired with the names we really love, is going to attract judgement from some people. We don’t really mind being judged by other people behind our backs (wouldn’t be the first time) but we DO mind people actively being rude to our faces about the name we choose (making it our problem), which a few people have already been with our possibilities.

What are people’s stance on naming babies what they actually want rather than something else so that people won’t think badly of them? I swear, we’re not trying to choose names so people think we’re “posh” or something - we genuinely love them and the way they sound, and honestly, it just seems so silly to us to not choose a name we really love because other people think we’re trying to be something we’re not!

We have no friends with kids so just don’t know what the situation with names are these days - do lots of people choose names that are “out there”? This may or may not make a difference but we live in West London where we’ve heard naming can be a bit more diverse, and was wondering if anyone could give us insight about whether it was more common to choose unusual names where we live? We think the worst scenario would be not choosing one of the names that we love and then it turns out everyone else just goes for it and we’ll regret we didn’t!

OP posts:
Report
Redpaisley · 30/09/2023 09:20

Enko · 29/09/2023 09:26

My son has what some call a pretentious name (Conrad) he has had school friends called Carradoc, Lysander (he goes by Sander) Bartholomew (Bart) and Hector . He has also had friends called. Oliver , Jack, William, Thomas and Joseph

The boys just used one another's names.

Personally I think give your child a name you love but not one that will be of hindrance in life (Good piece of Danish law there I wish we had it here) so no names that sounds rude.

But StJohn as an example used above. People just get used to it. Personally I like StJohn and Horatio too. I don't mind Tarquij either call me pretentious I don't care. My son likes his name and has never had it shortened.

Why would you name your child Bartholomew when you know he will never be called by thay name? Basically, kid's real name becomes Bart.

I cant imagine kid introducing himself to other kids with that name and everyone remembering.

So the argument is that kids in west London have unusual names, by that logic some kid is called X Æ A-12, so name your child whatever you fancy. Naming a kid should also take into consideration the said child, if the name will bring any challenges, etc.

Report
Winter2020 · 30/09/2023 09:25

Also just looked back at your OP regarding your double barrelled last name heightening the poshness but you saying you are not doing it on purpose.

Someone might love the name Peter but if their last name is Piper they would be very unlikely to choose it. You need to find names that sound ok with your last name or alternatively drop the double barrel and find names that sound ok with the new last name.

Report
Potiphar · 30/09/2023 09:28

Well no you can’t but David Cameron hardly destroyed the name David and George Osborne didn’t ruin the name George. Boris Johnson HAS ruined the name Boris and Nigel Farage has ruined the name Nigel (not that it took much ruining.)
For this reason it’s better to go for common, relatively classless names that can be shortened. John, David, Michael, Stephen, Peter, Robert, Richard, etc.

I’m against names that try to mark a child out as something when that child is just a few days old. Give him a name he can make his own, not a name that’s trying to make him into something.

And a pipe fitter called Tarquin IS a bit risible. So is an equerry to the queen called Jayden. The names just don’t fit!

Report
Potiphar · 30/09/2023 09:31

Just go for an ordinary non-class-specific first name and a pretentious posh middle name. Nobody gives a shit about middle names (and the first time his mates will hear it will probably be at his wedding.)
He can always go by his middle name in later life if he wants to. Lots of people do - James Paul McCartney for example.

Report
belladonna22 · 30/09/2023 09:36

Potiphar · 30/09/2023 09:28

Well no you can’t but David Cameron hardly destroyed the name David and George Osborne didn’t ruin the name George. Boris Johnson HAS ruined the name Boris and Nigel Farage has ruined the name Nigel (not that it took much ruining.)
For this reason it’s better to go for common, relatively classless names that can be shortened. John, David, Michael, Stephen, Peter, Robert, Richard, etc.

I’m against names that try to mark a child out as something when that child is just a few days old. Give him a name he can make his own, not a name that’s trying to make him into something.

And a pipe fitter called Tarquin IS a bit risible. So is an equerry to the queen called Jayden. The names just don’t fit!

George Osborne's real first name is actually Gideon! He changed it so he could sound less posh to get ahead in politics. His father is a baronet!

The Tories: they're just like us.

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Osborne

Report
Enko · 30/09/2023 09:38

@Redpaisley Why would you name your child Bartholomew when you know he will never be called by thay name? Basically, kid's real name becomes Bart.

I cant imagine kid introducing himself to other kids with that name and everyone remembering.

It's done all the time in the UK. Hi I'm Victoria call me Vic. I'm Alexander call me Alex. And yes kids can absolutely remember Bartholomew and not blink at the idea.

I thankfully think we are moving away from the Matthew John Peter David dullness and are embracing a wider range of names.

Report
MaudGonneOutForAFag · 30/09/2023 09:40

IslandsInTheSunshine · 30/09/2023 09:12

Why on earth? It’s just two surnames!

It's not really though .

In the past a double barrelled name was only used/available for a certain class of society, often those with titles (lord, lady, duke etc). The 'landed gentry'.

Now when couples combine surnames with a hyphen it can look as if they are trying to copy the 'upper class' or titled names .

Why are double barreled names posh?
The reasons for double-barrelling were originally financial. If two wealthy families joined in marriage both names would be perpetuated as a condition of the marriage. Wealth matches were common in the middle ages, and a famous, wealthy family would want their name to run on till the final trump of recorded time

And yet, that’s a demonstrably outdated view, based on your own kneejerk social prejudices. As this 2017 article suggests, women aren’t bowing tho sexist ‘tradition’, aren’t arbitrarily changing their names on marriage and, consequently, are passing on their surnames to their children, as well as their fathers’. There are increasing numbers of footballers with two surnames. The article suggests there’s also a link to marriages of mixed ethnicity/culture/ nationality in that both parents want to pass on a link to their heritage.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/02/keeping-up-with-smith-joneses-no-longer-posh-double-barrelled-surname

Keeping up with the Smith-Joneses: you no longer have to be posh to be double-barrelled

Eleven per cent of young newlyweds now combine names and pass them on to their kids. So what are the rules of the modern naming game?

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/nov/02/keeping-up-with-smith-joneses-no-longer-posh-double-barrelled-surname

Report
Potiphar · 30/09/2023 09:40

Actually I think he changed it because he thought Gideon “sounded too Jewish” and might be an impediment to him becoming prime minister.

Report
reluctantbrit · 30/09/2023 09:42

user1492757084 · 29/09/2023 03:14

Your child, your choice. Use a name that you love.

As someone with a first name which is a perfectly acceptable one in France, it's is utterly uncommon in my home country and also here in the UK.

I had years of misspellings, not being addressed correctly (it seems most people think it's a male name) and being asked stupid questions about where I am from or where my parents are from.

I do understand my mum's reasoning but as a child I often thought life would be easier with a boring normal name.

When DD was born we had a huge list of names we both liked but I didn't want her to have the same experiences so we crossed off several ones.

Ironically - when she was 14 she decided she didn't like her name and chose her own. She is informally called something totally different now and plans to change her name when she is at uni, so in 2-3 years.

Report
royalwatchewr · 30/09/2023 09:42

Yes, abbreviations can helpfully iron out the most pretentious names! I have a Barnie (Barnabas) and an Ollie (Oliphant, not Oliver) in my extended family and most people probably have no idea of their real names.

Report
royalwatchewr · 30/09/2023 09:45

Now when couples combine surnames with a hyphen it can look as if they are trying to copy the 'upper class' or titled names .

20 years ago, I may have agreed with this. Now, it's become so common - and overwhelmingly done for practical feminist reasons, not to appear posh.

Report
Barney60 · 30/09/2023 09:49

The only advice i would give is think of the child, it does not matter if you love it, will they be humiliated or can it be shortened into something rude, if not go for it, no one else's business really.

Report
viques · 30/09/2023 09:49

I would take pretentious with classic connotations over yewneeq and weird spelling any day.

Report
Qilin · 30/09/2023 09:50

Tumbler2121 · 29/09/2023 00:20

When you say double-barralled, is this set in stone? Used to mean posh, now just means mum and dad aren't married!

Apart from that, name the baby something that you like, and won't be embarrassed to shout out through Waitrose/Tesco/Asda when he/she runs off!

Mix at my school. Lots of married couples who have double barrelled their surname rather than both taking just one of them or each keeping their own.

Report
WombatChocolate · 30/09/2023 09:56

Agree with avoid anything with an unusual spelling - will be a millstone around your child’s neck for their lifetime.

Remember there are lots of ways to me come a unique person - name isn’t the key thing.

Consider if you want to draw particular attention to your child.

To me, classic names are the best. I do t consider them boring (although some clearly do) and hope my children will distinguish guise themselves by their character, personality and achievements and not their name. I’ve always thought I don’t need them to be on a class list and a teacher or parent to comment on the name. If it’s a name others would comment on, in my view it’s best avoided. But I know some people deliberately court that attention. Each to their own.

Report
Paperbagsaremine · 30/09/2023 09:56

You're overthinking it - sure, check their name doesn't sound like something rude or risible, but otherwise just give them a "safety name" as one of their names and have done.
Rupert Cecil Hilarius Thomas Cholomondely-Warner

Report
MumblesParty · 30/09/2023 10:03

OP you talk much about how people will react to YOU, whether they’ll talk behind YOUR backs etc. What you really need to consider is how this will affect your child. These naming threads drive me insane because people are mind-blowingly selfish. They loved a film so they name their child after the space ship in the film, or some such bollocks.

When it comes to naming babies, it’s not about you!! Yes of course as parents we choose names we like, but mainly we are choosing the name that another human being will have to live with. And we have no idea what that person’s personality may be like. They may be outgoing and gregarious, they may be shy and quiet, they may be big and butch, they may be delicate and small, they may be academically gifted, they may be more practical than academic. I think it’s cruel to give a child a name that creates an image, because if the child doesn’t fit the image, then they will feel stupid each time they tell someone their name.

Giving your child a traditionally posh name when you’re not upper class and wealthy just makes you (and the child) look ridiculous.

Report
BurntOrangeAutumn · 30/09/2023 10:05

Keep your name ideas secret until you actually have the baby, then announce the name after. You'll find people will be less rude when the baby is already named. Everyone has an opinion when you are discussing name options.
We did this with our last child as we didn't want to hear everyone's opinions 😂 we just smiled & nodded when they made suggestions when we said we hadn't picked out a name yet.
Best of luck with the pregnancy & birth x

Report
Mum3563 · 30/09/2023 10:05

We don't have exactly the same situation but we chose a slightly unusual name, with a difficult spelling and pronunciation, with a double barrelled surname. We gave a more conventional middle name that we also loved so both the kid and could have the choice to use it if the first name proved to be a pain to use. As it is we still love using it.

Report
Qilin · 30/09/2023 10:05

I cant imagine kid introducing himself to other kids with that name and everyone remembering.

Not sure what you mean? That children wouldn't remember a longer name?

Children can remember any name they are told ime. I work in a school and we have children from a wide range of backgrounds and therefore a wide array of name types. We have children with pet forms of their names, some who use their middle name rather than their first name, some who's known by name appears unrelated to their official name, names from all over the world.

No one seems to struggle with remembering someone's name, the children even less so.

Report
Lovemusic82 · 30/09/2023 10:07

I like the name Lysander, I’m not really sure what is classed as a ‘pretentious name’? There are names that I would put under the common working class category that I find a bit tacky but at the end of the day you can name you dc what ever you like. I have 2 DD’s, one has a classic name and the other has a slightly different (some would say posh) name. I didn’t really ask anyone what they thought before naming my dc, it was our choice.

Report
IslandsInTheSunshine · 30/09/2023 10:08

royalwatchewr · 30/09/2023 09:45

Now when couples combine surnames with a hyphen it can look as if they are trying to copy the 'upper class' or titled names .

20 years ago, I may have agreed with this. Now, it's become so common - and overwhelmingly done for practical feminist reasons, not to appear posh.

20 years ago, I may have agreed with this. Now, it's become so common - and overwhelmingly done for practical feminist reasons, not to appear posh.

Ok so when does this stop?

If Harry Jones has a child with Julia Smith, and they call their child Brian Jones-Smith, and

Brian grows up and has a child with Lucy Brown-Thomas.

Will the child be called Tarquin Jones-Smith-Brown-Thomas?


It has to stop somewhere.

Report

Don’t want to miss threads like this?

Weekly

Sign up to our weekly round up and get all the best threads sent straight to your inbox!

Log in to update your newsletter preferences.

You've subscribed!

Persipan · 30/09/2023 10:08

Pick whatever name you like but - this is the crucial part - don't tell anyone what it is until baby arrives. People feel much more able to comment on an idea for a name than an actual baby with that name

Report
MargotBamborough · 30/09/2023 10:12

IslandsInTheSunshine · 30/09/2023 10:08

20 years ago, I may have agreed with this. Now, it's become so common - and overwhelmingly done for practical feminist reasons, not to appear posh.

Ok so when does this stop?

If Harry Jones has a child with Julia Smith, and they call their child Brian Jones-Smith, and

Brian grows up and has a child with Lucy Brown-Thomas.

Will the child be called Tarquin Jones-Smith-Brown-Thomas?


It has to stop somewhere.

This really isn't the issue you are making it out to be.

I know a couple where both had double barrelled names and when they married they picked one name each and double barrelled those.

So Jane Smith-Brown and Tom Jones-Davies became Jane and Tom Smith-Davies.

I also know a couple where the woman had a double barrelled name from both her parents who took the feminist approach and double barrelled their names when they married back in the 1970s, and she decided to just take her husband's name when she got married.

If and when the child gets married or has a child of their own, they decide what they want to do and they do it.

Which part is complicated?

Report
1mabon · 30/09/2023 10:14

Oh, for goodness sake, just choose the name you like, nobody else's business.

Report
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.