Baby Names That Were Normal Until Pop Culture Ruined Them

Picking out a name for your baby is no easy task. Some parents want their child to have a creative or unusual name, while others prefer classics or trendy names. But some names that were once perfectly respectable have been ruined by associations to historic and pop cultural events. Since these names will now be forever linked to these things in our minds, parents may want to think twice about using them for their little bundle of joy.

Karen - This name was actually one of the most popular baby girl names in the 1960s and that’s part of the problem. See, those 1960s babies became middle-aged women in the 2000s and when society needed a name for a specific kind of entitled white lady, “Karen” got the honor.

Mario and Luigi - Since these names are 100% associated with Nintendo video game characters, unless a parent wants people to think “It’s a me, Mario!” anytime your kid walks into a room, they’re probably going to shy away from these.

Chad - At some point the Internet decided “Chad” is shorthand for an alpha male who’s obnoxious and does well with the ladies and some folks might not want their kid’s name associated with bros like that.

Katrina - What was once a perfectly lovely name will forever be linked to the deadly 2005 category 5 Hurricane Katrina.

Hermione - Before the “Harry Potter” book series, lots of people had never even heard of the name, but now people can’t help but think of Harry’s brilliant friend when they hear it.

Adolph - This is pretty much the king of negatively associated names. While it was never that popular in the U.S., it was fairly common in Germany pre-World War II. Now, it’s all but disappeared worldwide.

Siri/Alexa - You’re unlikely to find many people giving their baby girls either of these pretty names now that they’re the names of the digital assistants we use every day.

Donald - No matter how you feel about Trump, naming your baby “Donald” will risk linking your child to the former president.

Waldo - Can you hear this name and not think of the series of picture books with the main character who is perpetually lost? Probably not, and neither can anyone else.

(Photo by Diana Bagnoli/Getty Images)

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