Nobody Owns A Baby Name So It's Impossible To 'Steal' One

by Maria Guido
Originally Published: 

No, you can’t “claim” a baby name as your own

People are very territorial about their baby names. It’s understandable: you’re choosing something that is going to be with your child for life. But can we all agree that people are entitled to name their babies whatever the heck they want? When it comes to naming a baby, there are no rules of ownership.

Today Parents surveyed their readers to find out how they picked names for their children. Over 12,000 people responded — and when they were asked about “baby name stealing” more than half of the respondents said it was a real phenomenon: one that should not exist. Can you “steal” a baby name?

No. No you can not. “Stealing” implies you’ve taken something someone else owns. Hence, impossible. It’s impossible to “steal” a baby name.

Baby naming is such a weird thing. It really makes some people act crazy. There are those people who guard the name they’ve chosen under a shroud of secrecy that rivals the papal conclave. We’re not telling! We haven’t even told our parents! There are others who spout out a different name every week, essentially trying to pee on all of them and mark their territory.

But when it comes to naming a child — it has absolutely nothing to do with anyone outside that family. If you know someone who is inspired by the name you chose for your child, maybe take it as a compliment? Maybe your child is so adorable they sold the name. Who knows? Also, remember your baby is going to transform into a little being with personality and preferences — he will make the name his own.

As for claiming that someone swooped a name out from under you before you could use it… come on.

“My brother’s ex-girlfriend stole my name after I told her I was using it for my son because I had been in love with it since 6th grade,” a BabyCenter reader said. “She said she didn’t really like the name… Imagine my surprise when he was born and they announced his name is Christopher. I was fuming.” Seriously? Christopher? You can’t call dibs on “Christopher.” Or any other name for that matter. Also, does this person actually think another human “stole” her child’s name just to get on her nerves? That is a very odd dynamic. Probably best to just cut that toxic weirdo out of her life, anyway.

It’s fine if your great-great-grandfather’s name was Chance Owen Jester IV and you’ve always dreamed of giving your child the name. But if you happen to have an acquaintance who’s also always loved the name Chance (or whatever) she’s entitled to use it. We’re talking a label that will follow a human around their entire life. It’s not like you just took the last croissant and someone else has to settle for a stale donut. That’s the thing about names: there’s no end to how many people can use them. It’s why the yearly list of “most popular names” even exists.

Yes, naming your baby is monumental. But as long as you love the name, don’t worry about how many other people “get to it first.” Many people have a name that is shared by millions of other people. It’ll be okay.

Baby names aren’t bars of gold. As much as you may want to, you really can’t hoard them.

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