Baby Names That are banned in the United States

Selecting a name for your newborn is a significant decision for every parent, embodying their aspirations, aspirations, and cultural heritage. However, within this realm of choice, a notable caveat exists in the United States – certain names are prohibited. While this concept may appear unusual, the regulation of names is a common practice globally, including in the USA. This article delves into the intriguing realm of banned baby names in the United States, examining the rationale behind these restrictions and the ramifications for parents.

Understanding Banned Names

Banning names may seem contrary to the principles of freedom and individuality, but the regulations aim to prevent names that could cause harm or be deemed offensive. Each state in the US has its own set of rules governing the registration of names, typically overseen by vital records offices or departments of health.

Reasons for banning names vary but often include

Obscenity or Profanity

Names that incorporate vulgar or offensive language are universally banned from official records. This prohibition stems from the understanding that such names have the potential to subject a child to ridicule, discrimination, or even psychological harm. By excluding these names from official documentation, authorities aim to safeguard the well-being and dignity of individuals, ensuring that their identities are not tainted by associations with derogatory or inappropriate terms. Thus, such names are deemed unsuitable for inclusion in official records to maintain respect and integrity within society.

Numerals or Special Characters

Names composed entirely of numbers or symbols are typically prohibited, primarily due to their potential to create confusion and administrative challenges. When individuals bear names solely comprised of numerical digits or special characters, it can complicate record-keeping processes, hinder communication, and lead to errors in documentation. For instance, names like “123,” “#” or “?” would likely encounter rejection when submitted for official registration.

Titles or Honorifics

Names incorporating titles such as “King,” “Prince,” or “Queen” are frequently subject to restrictions, primarily because they may suggest a status or rank that the child does not hold legally. When parents bestow such titles upon their children as part of their name, it can potentially create confusion regarding the individual’s actual legal standing or entitlements. Moreover, it may inadvertently convey false assumptions or expectations about the child’s societal position or privileges.

Brand Names

Happy cheerful healthy smiling parents holding naked baby. Backlit picture.

Utilizing brand names or trademarks as baby names is commonly forbidden, primarily to prevent potential commercial exploitation or confusion. When parents opt to name their child after a recognizable brand or trademark, it can blur the lines between personal identity and commercial association, potentially subjecting the child to unwanted attention or perceptions tied to the brand’s reputation or marketing strategies. Moreover, allowing brand names as personal identifiers could inadvertently endorse or promote certain products or companies, raising ethical concerns about commercial influence on personal identity.

Cultural Sensitivities

Names that have the potential to be culturally insensitive or offensive to specific groups are often prohibited from official registration to uphold principles of respect, inclusivity, and cultural sensitivity. When names carry connotations that are derogatory, demeaning, or disparaging towards particular ethnicities, religions, or social identities, they can perpetuate stereotypes, marginalize communities, and perpetuate discrimination. By disallowing such names from being officially recognized, authorities aim to promote a more inclusive and tolerant society where individuals from diverse backgrounds feel valued and respected.

Examples of Banned Names

While the list of banned names varies by state and evolves over time, some examples from recent years include:


The name “Lucifer,” commonly associated with the devil in religious contexts, has been met with rejection in numerous states across the United States due to its deeply ingrained religious connotations. The religious significance of the name, which symbolizes the embodiment of evil in many belief systems, has prompted regulatory authorities to prohibit its usage in official records. The rejection of “Lucifer” as a baby name underscores the sensitivity surrounding religious symbolism and the desire to maintain respect for diverse spiritual beliefs within society.


In a notable case from 2013, a Tennessee judge issued a ruling mandating the alteration of a baby’s name from “Messiah” to “Martin.” The judge’s decision was grounded in the belief that the term “Messiah” holds significant religious and cultural weight, being traditionally understood as a title attributed to a singular revered figure. By ordering the name change, the judge emphasized that “Messiah” is a title historically associated with divine significance and reserved for a specific religious figure.

Adolf Hitler

Names referencing historical figures notorious for perpetrating atrocities or hate crimes, such as “Adolf Hitler,” are frequently prohibited from official use to mitigate the potential for glorification or controversy. Adolf Hitler’s name is inexorably linked to the heinous acts of the Holocaust and the atrocities committed during World War II, making it a symbol of hatred, oppression, and genocide. As such, allowing individuals to bear the name “Adolf Hitler” could be interpreted as a form of homage or endorsement, thereby perpetuating the suffering and trauma experienced by millions.


Names that bear phonetic or visual resemblances to inappropriate or vulgar terms are commonly rejected in official records, reflecting a concerted effort to maintain decorum and appropriateness in naming practices. Instances such as “Anal” or “Vagina,” which inadvertently evoke associations with anatomical or sexual connotations, are deemed unsuitable for official recognition. This rejection stems from the recognition that such names may subject individuals to ridicule, embarrassment, or social stigma, particularly during interactions where their name is disclosed.

Implications for Parents

While parents have the freedom to select their child’s name, they are also tasked with navigating the legal framework surrounding naming conventions. It is prudent for parents to conduct thorough research on the regulations applicable in their respective state before settling on a name, thereby minimizing the likelihood of encountering complications or rejections. In instances where a chosen name faces rejection, parents may find it necessary to pursue authorization from a court or administrative body to proceed with the desired name.

While some may perceive the regulation of baby names as restrictive, it fundamentally serves to reinforce societal norms, safeguard children from potential harm, and foster inclusivity. Despite granting parents significant latitude in naming their children, the United States imposes certain boundaries to ensure that names are both appropriate and respectful. By comprehending the rationales behind banned names and navigating the legal framework, parents can make judicious choices that pay homage to their cultural heritage while prioritizing the welfare of their child.