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Banned baby names: See the names that made the naughty list around the world

Linda is illegal in Saudi Arabia.
Heidi, Tom, Jenny and Charlotte are off-limits in Portugal.
Heidi, Tom, Jenny and Charlotte are off-limits in Portugal.Jamie Grill / Getty Images

In the United States we have the right to name our children pretty much anything we want. But many countries have strict baby name laws in place.

Even in the U.S., there are some rules. For example, Arizonians must abide to a 141 character limit — 45 for the first name, 45 for middle, and 45 for last. And derogatory or obscene names are banned in California.

Some countries go much farther.

"A lot of countries have laws requiring that children be given names from a pre-approved list of traditional first names. Names that are not on that list are banned," Nameberry co-founder Pamela Redmond told TODAY Parents.

Related: Top baby names of 2022, so far

Redmond noted that Norway bans the use of surnames as first names, and the law in France, first instituted by Napoleon, bans names that might subject a child to ridicule.

Read on for names that are banned somewhere in the world.

United States

III, Jesus Christ, Adolf Hilter, Santa Claus and @ were all ruled illegal by courts in the U.S. 


Under its “Naming Law,” which regulates what first names are acceptable to give babies, Sweden blocked Ikea, Veranda, Superman, Elvis and Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 (pronounced Albin, of course). The parents of Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 explained that their son’s name was a “pregnant, expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation,” but the government refused to budge.


Germany has a list of restrictions including no gender-neutral names — Matti, for instance, was rejected — and no names that could potentially lead to humiliation. Stompie, Woodstock and Grammophon were all nixed. 


In Denmark, parents must choose from a pre-approved list of baby names. If you want to give your child a moniker that isn’t on the list, you'll have to get government permission. Maybe that's not such a bad idea: Anus, Pluto and Monkey were rejected.


Nutella, Prince William, Mini Cooper, and Fraise (French for strawberry) are all forbidden in France. 


Icelanders, just like folks in Denmark, must choose from a pre-authorized list of names. If parents want to name their child something that isn't on the list, they can apply for approval. The name must contain only letters in the Icelandic alphabet —c, q, w, and z do not exist — and it can't cause the child any future embarrassment. Requests for Lucifer, Ezra and Zion were all rejected. One family was unable to renew their daughter Harriet’s passport in 2013 because her name can’t be translated in Icelandic —but the decision has since been overturned.

Saudi Arabia

When biotechnologist David Taylor analyzed names using the Social Security database in 2018, he found that Linda enjoyed the longest peak of popularity of any “trendy” name in United States since 1880. But the name is banned in Saudi Arabia for being "too foreign." Lauren and Sandy also off-limit.


Before naming a child, parents consult an 80-page list of approved and rejected names. Heidi, Tom, Jenny and Charlotte did not make the cut, as they are too foreign-sounding. 


Malaysians are not allowed to name their kids after animals, fruits — sorry Apple Martin — vegetables or colors. Numbers and royal titles are also off limits. In 2006, the country released a list of unsuitable names, including Chow Tow, which translates to “smelly head” and Woti (sexual intercourse.)


In the Mexican state of Sonora, a law bans parents from registering names deemed to be “derogatory, pejorative, discriminatory or lacking in meaning.” Officials banned 61 specific names, including Rambo, Robocop, Facebook, Lady Di and Harry Potter

New Zealand

New Zealand does not allow names that “resemble official titles,” such as King, Prince, Saint, and Lady