In Depth

Nutella, Smelly Head and other names you can't call your child

From Sex Fruit to 4Real, bizarre baby names have caused legal wrangling across the world

A couple in France have been banned from naming their daughter Nutella, after the hazelnut spread, to prevent her from being mocked later in life.

A French court ruled, in the parents' absence, that the baby girl be called Ella instead, saying it was "contrary to the child's interest to have a name that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts".

While parents in France are normally allowed to choose the names of their children, local prosecutors can report what they see as unsuitable names to a family court, reports the BBC.

It is not the first time that a baby's name has become subject to legal wrangling and regulation...

Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii

A court in New Zealand took guardianship of a nine-year-old girl so that she could change her name from Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii. The judge said the name could expose her to teasing and attacked the trend of giving children wacky names. Among the names blocked in New Zealand are Sex Fruit, Fat Boy, 4Real, Cinderella Beauty Blossom, and Fish and Chips (twins). Puzzlingly, officials allowed the names Violence, Number 16 Bus Shelter, and Benson and Hedges (twins).

Smelly Head

Following an increase in Malaysians applying to change their birth names, the country's authorities published a list of banned children's names. This included the Cantonese monikers Chow Tow, meaning smelly Head, and Sor Chai, meaning insane. Malaysians were also discouraged from trying to name their children Woti, meaning sexual intercourse. Numbers in names are prohibited, as are royal titles and Japanese car names.


After a Swedish couple were fined in 1996 for failing to register their son's name before his fifth birthday, they submitted the name Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116 as a protest against the country's naming laws. They claimed the 43-letter name – apparently pronounced Albin – was an "expressionistic development that we see as an artistic creation". The name was rejected by authorities. However, Sweden has in the past accepted the names Metallica and Google.

Osama bin Laden

Less than a year after the 9/11 terror attacks, a Turkish couple living in Germany were refused permission to name their child Osama Bin Laden. Under German guidelines, names must indicate the gender of the child and must not be likely to lead to humiliation. The name Hitler is banned, but Lord of the Rings fans are free to name their children Legolas.


In 2007, a Chinese couple attempted to name their baby @, claiming that the symbol echoed their love for the child. "The whole world uses it to write e-mail, and translated into Chinese it means 'love him'," the father reportedly argued. The English word "at" sounds a little like the Mandarin word "ai ta", which means "love him", explained CNN. Meanwhile, according to the Chinese government, 60 million people in the country have ancient characters in their names that are so obscure computers cannot recognise them.


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