Mum asks: 'Why can’t you use a ‘made-up’ baby name without judgement?'

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

A mum of two is asking 'what makes a name officially made-up,' while also pondering why parents who use them are the targets of judgement.

Posing her baby name musings to Mumsnet she writes, "Surely all names were made up at some point, even those with a very long history. Someone had to be the first one to use it and why are we so against that now? When does it become a 'name' in it's own right?"

She then explains, "I'm not talking about 'yoo-nique' spellings or presentations of established names. I mean ones you've conjured out of the air yourself or perhaps combination names from one or more other names to create something unheard of."

Then she addresses the open criticism she's seen about names considered to be made-up on the Mumsnet forums.

"I've noticed there seems to be a real thing on here about declaring that names are or sound made up (even if they aren't, just very uncommon) which often goes with the poster not liking the name."

We're getting the idea she has first-hand experience with this issue and sure enough, she does.

"For what it's worth, I have one child who goes by an unusual animal name, not bear/fox/wolf but a feminine one. And one with a combination name that is mostly easy to say/pronounce and sounds like a proper name anyway."

It turns out she has an Octavia who goes by 'Butterfly', and a son called 'Dracob,' which is a smush of Drake and Jacob - two names she says she couldn't choose between.

She writes that her son's name is "... not listed as a name anywhere, but to me at least it doesn't sound 'made-up' despite the fact that I put together two names."


One commenter gets straight to the point, stressing that forums do not represent real life.

"Mumsnet has a lot of posters who are very invested in what other people call their [children]. There is a mixture of the ignorant - never heard of it so it's made up, the snobs - it's not a royal name so it's common and the racists - we're not having any of those foreign names in this country, can't spell it, can't pronounce it. In real life no one cares that much, we have all got better things to worry about than what other people name their [child]."

Here's a few considered answers.

"I think if you are deliberately trying to come up with a totally new, unique name (even if it turns out not to be) then it is, and usually sounds, made up. Names that evolve out of language naturally have a different feel to them, even if you've never heard them before. They follow rules that we recognise unconsciously."

"For me, what makes a made-up name 'bad' is if the pronunciation doesn't match the spelling. I came across it fairly often when I was teaching."

Some offer their honest opinions.

"I'm sorry Dracob sounds so daft, I did laugh."

"Smashing two perfectly good ones together to create a Franken-Name definitely counts as made up!"

"When I opened this thread I immediately thought of Renesmee. In all honesty I think Dracob sounds like you didn't know how to pronounce Jacob. You might think that people shouldn't be judgy or that all names were originally made up at one point, but people will judge and it's your child that will have to put up with it.

In fact the OP finds herself having to justify her childrens' names at every turn after she insists that her daughter will always want to be called Butterfly and that her son's name had special significance for her.

To her credit she keeps her cool and explains she was told he would be a girl - Dracob was born prematurely with his bladder on the outside of his body and also has Down Syndrome.

She writes, "can so clearly remember exactly where I was on what road when my head went 'Dracob'."

It's an illustration that it really doesn't matter at all what people name their babies. If those children are loved and cherished and named with consideration, then who should judge? 

Read all six pages of responses here if you're inclined.