Many parents spend a great deal of time deliberating over what to name their child. The name they choose often holds special meaning or represents certain qualities and values they hope their child will embody. However, some names have origins and connotations that are quite dark or unfortunate. While a name is just a label and does not determine a person’s character, some names do have dark or disturbing backstories that parents may want to consider.
Names with Death Associations
Some names are directly associated with death, darkness, or evil in their meanings. Here are a few examples:
Names like Mortimer and Thanatos directly reference death. Necia and Necalli come from an Ancient Greek root word meaning death. Many parents may not want to give their child a name so overtly associated with death or evil from the very start.
Names of Villains
Some names are strongly tied to villainous characters in mythology, literature, or popular culture. Here are a few of these darker names:
|Harry Potter bully
|Norse god of deception
While these names have other origin stories, they are strongly identified with evil or unlikable figures in fictional works familiar to many people. Naming a child after a notorious villain may not set them up well socially.
Names from Dark History
Some names are connected to real historical events with very negative connotations. These include:
|Evil Biblical queen
|Brutal Belgian king
Adolf Hitler and Judas are two of history’s most notorious villains. Jezebel and Leopold were also linked to horrific deeds. Saddling a child with these names could invite negative reactions and associations.
Names with Unpleasant Meanings
Some names simply have definitions that are dark, grim, or unsavory:
|Source of harm
Hyena, bane, morbid, and strychnine all denote something unpleasant, ugly, or harmful. Most parents want to instill positivity in their children, so names with overtly negative definitions are often avoided.
Names with Cursed Legends
Some names come with legendary stories or myths of curses and misfortune. These include:
|Omen of evil
|Turned into spider
Cassandra and Arachne hearken back to Greek myths of curses and transformations, while Elvis and Damien have connotations of premature death or ill fortune. While these legends may not rationally sway most parents’ choices, they add an extra sinister aura.
Names of Serial Killers
Some of history’s most notorious serial killers also have names still associated with their crimes:
Charles Manson, Ted Bundy, and Jeffrey Dahmer inflicted horrific suffering through gruesome murders and assaults. While it’s irrational to judge someone by their name, saddling a child with the name of an infamous killer seems inadvisable.
Ultimately, while names themselves do not shape a child’s destiny or personality, certain names do come with dark histories, associations, legends, and meanings. Parents may want to avoid these when choosing what to name their baby. However, it is also true that name associations can evolve over time as new bearers define them anew. But if you want to steer clear of names with disturbing connotations, checking their background and meaning first is wise. What name you choose for your child is deeply personal, but being aware of any grim roots can help inform your decision.