PARENTS

Tip Of The Day: Baby Name Expert Says Don't Copy Celebs

12/08/2009 09:39 | Updated 22 May 2015

So Gwyneth Paltrow's got her Apple, Nicole Kidman's got her Sunday, Jamie Oliver's got his Petal and Katie Price has got Princess Tiaamii. Never try and second guess a celebrity when it comes to baby names. Whatever you think of, they will always go those few Scrabble letters further.

But where celebrities lead, others follow, and believe it or not, there are people who aim to saddle their children with names copied from celebrity parents.

Baby name expert Julia Cresswell compiled the 10,000 names in The Chambers Dictionary of First Names, so she's seen it all, from the elegant to the just plain odd - like the American couple who wanted to call their child Destiny and misspelt it Density or the child whose parent combined variants of the name Anna and Lisa, coming up with Analyse.

This is Julia's advice for anyone thinking of picking a celebrity-style name for their newborn:

The forgotten naming rule?

When looking at the names that celebrities choose for their children, it often looks as if they have forgotten one of the least mentioned naming rules – that the name on a birth certificate and the name you call your little bundle of joy do not have to be the same. There is nothing to stop you calling your child by any pet name you choose – Petal, Sweetcheeks, or even Pixie FrouFrou; but you don't have to lumber them with such names for life. If they end up preferring their pet name to their given name they can even continue to use it in adult life quite legally. But they should at least have the chance to use a more conventional name if they want to.

I am often amazed at the short-term thoughtlessness with which parents choose names. Soon after Gwyneth Paltrow called her daughter Apple in 2004 I was asked to do a live radio broadcast on names. The presenter asked people to phone in if they had named their children after fruit.

There were Apples and Peaches aplenty, but what was surprising was that almost every other fruit was covered too. One father phoned in to announce proudly that he had called his son Raspberry. He genuinely could not understand the outrage with which this statement was greeted. He had, he explained, simply named his son after his favourite fruit, and he seemed unable to grasp that this might be tough on the child in later life.

Having said this, it has been suggested that celebrity children might benefit from outrageous names as it gives them a chance to get out from under their parents' shadow and be known for something in their own right. Be that as it may, the less famous among us might like to think twice about naming our own Prince or Princess with a permanent name that may cause them embarrassment in later life.

The Chambers Dictionary of First Names by Julia Cresswell has recently been published in paperback and is available here from Amazon.

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