The Best Worst Names in the World

The curious tradition of bad baby names, from Mann Pigg to Tu Morrow.

One of many things I can thank my parents for is my name. “Mark” is nowhere near the Michael or Joe level of omnipresence, so I haven’t had to fight my way through a sea of Marks throughout my life. Even better, “Mark” is utterly normal, especially when you consider that I could have been named “Crucify,” “Lamentation,” “Mutton,” “Nebuchadnezzar,” or “Moxie.”

It’s hard to believe that anyone would name their innocent child Mary Christmas or Terry Bull, but some parents always rise or sink to the occasion. Whether you consider such names an affront to all that is holy or wonderful contributions to the ongoing Name of the Year contest, bizarre names are one of the funnest and funniest continents on the language map.

Since 1983, the Name of the Year folks have been selecting winners that are juvenile (Doby Chrotchtangle), sonically pleasing (Honka Monka), and totally random (Destiny Frankenstein). The March Madness-style tourney has proven popular in this era of bracketology, and though God’s Power Offor was a pre-contest favorite, maybe Gregor Schwinghammer Jr. or Napoleon Einstein will pull an upset. Most of the names are hard to believe, but the NOTY braintrust do take pains to make sure the names are real, even at the expense of a potential winner; for example, “Dick Smallberries, Jr.” was recently tossed out of the tourney because of lack of evidence.

This contest is merely the tip of the whacko-name-berg. For a truly spectacular look at crazy-ass names, get the delightful humor book Bad Baby Names, in which Michael Sherrod and Matthew Rayback collect (and even better, verify through census records) names as out-there as “Minor Holliday” and “Lettice Speak.” This collection—besides being one of the great bathroom books of our time—truly maps the territory of weird names.

For example, some folks seem to want their child to not only be a precious infant, but a grammatical sentence, based on the names Ask Bailey and Annoy Osbourne. Other parents may have hoped their children (such as Cruel Anderson and Plague McNair) might grow up to be pro wrestlers or serial killers. I thought the name “Pete Peters” (a former NHL goalie) was awful, but that seems tame compared to Stocking Stocking, Patience Patience, and Bloom Bloom. Handles like Mexico Meadow, Columbia Maffia, and Arkansas Toomer sound like sarcastic insults, not kids.

If names like Panties Moberg, Mann Pigg, Silver Savage, Zombie Davenport, and Thor Hammer sound made-up, well, there are many equally insane names that are 100 percent confirmed. We know celebrities pick names like Pirate, Camera, Reignbeau and Moxie Crimefighter, while Freakonomics authors Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have documented the siblings Winner and Loser. Even the list of most popular names contains some notorious nuggets of nuttiness, like Heaven—the 275th most popular name for a girl in 2008. If Winner and Loser and Heaven and Tu Morrow are verified, isn’t anything possible?

Believability aside, one question that may never fully be answered is, "Why? In the name of all that is holy, why?" Levitt and Dubner point out, “...we live in an age of obsessive, even competitive, parenting. The typical parent is led to believe that her every move will greatly influence her child's future accomplishments. This belief expresses itself in the first official act a parent commits: giving the baby a name. Many parents seem to think that a child will not prosper unless it is hitched to the right one; names are seen to carry great aesthetic and even predictive powers.” So I can somewhat wrap my mind around the thought process behind naming your kid “Lawyer” or “Dentist.”

But why would you want to predestine your child toward a vocation like “Hobo” or “Stalker” or “Hooligan”? Shouldn’t you avoid giving your kid a crazy name for the same reason you don’t paint the baby blue or surgically graft on some tentacles? Who wants to create a freak on purpose?

Then again, maybe I’m being judgmental. Who am I to pooh-pooh a name like Godfrey Sithole? In fact, if I happen to start peopling the earth this year, I have a name picked out, and it will surprise no one who knows me that I’m stealing it from a dog. I spotted this beauty in an Esquire piece by Scott Raab about ex-Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich: “It's an ill wind that blows no good, even in Chicago in November. Take Skittles Blagojevich, a small white dog—could be a bichon frise, maybe a Maltese—who joined the family shortly after Governor Rod's arrest on December 9, 2008, when it was alleged that he was auctioning off Barack Obama's Senate seat.”

Now that’s a name. The late Crocodile Hunter named his daughter Bindi after one of his crocodiles, so why can’t I name my spawn after my disgraced governor’s fluffball?

I just know things will go well for little Skittles Blagojevich Peters.


For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
NHM Vienna/Hans Reschreiter

Wealth inequality has been a hot topic of discussion as of late, but it's something that's occurred all throughout history. Class structure is a complicated issue, especially when you consider that haves and have nots have been in existence for over 4,000 years.

A study published in Science took a look at over 100 late Neolithic and early Bronze Age skeletons found in a burial site in southern Germany. The study "shed light on the complexity of social status, inheritance rules, and mobility during the Bronze Age." Partly by looking at their teeth and the artifacts they were buried with, researchers were able to discover that wealth inequality existed almost 4,000 years ago. "Our results reveal that individual households lasting several generations consisted of a high-status core family and unrelated low-status individuals, a social organization accompanied by patrilocality and female exogamy, and the stability of this system over 700 years," the study said.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via ICE / Flickr

The Connors family, two coupes from the United Kingdom, one with a three-month old baby and the other with twin two-year-olds, were on vacation in Canada when the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) turned their holiday into a 12-plus day-long nightmare.

On October 3, the family was driving near the U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia when an animal veered into the road, forcing them to make an unexpected detour.

The family accidentally crossed into the United States where they were detained by ICE officials in what would become "the scariest experience of our lives," according to a complaint filed with the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

Keep Reading Show less