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Silly Names

I don’t mean intrinsically silly names. I mean combos. I mean Zowie Bowie is silly in both ways but Zowie is an intrinsically silly name.

I guess I first heard of the actress and singer Minnie Driver in the movie Grosse Pointe Blank. Now that is a US movie, set in the US so I assumed she was American and it was just unfortunate naming. The Mini note being the truly iconic motor it is here over there. I was gob-smacked to find out she was English.

Which brings us of course to the former England Rugby player Austin Healey.

This is Austin Healey…

This is an Austin Healey…

Perhaps not quite as iconic as the Mini but a car everyone in this country knows. It’s a smart looking motor I’m sure you’ll agree.

Of course this lunacy is not restricted to out Britannic Isles as such examples as the actor Rip Torn and the terrorist/politician (no longer with us) Abdullah Abdullah testify.

Can you think of any more?


  1. John Galt says:

    What about Batman Superman from Singapore (not quite the right spelling, but never mind)…

    Batman Bin Suparman Jailed In Singapore

  2. RAB says:

    Well I have known an Ivor Dick and his sister Adora (both police officers) and a Randy California…

  3. NickM says:

    I knew a lad called A Paul Ling.

  4. Julie near Chicago says:

    It’s merely a corollary to Nick’s point, but there’s a reason (beyond the waste of time and wear & tear on the wrist muscles) that I don’t use all my names, the abbreviation of which would have me informally signing myself J.E.R.K. :(

  5. NickM says:

    Well at least you aren’t…


  6. Julie near Chicago says:

    Well, I’m just as glad to have avoided Ursula the Martyred Virgin Bearess, but I wouldn’t mind Natalie, as long as no one called me “Nat.” Or “Nate.”

    There’s no excuse for naming any child Taylor, unless one wishes to preserve family linkages, and even then only if the child is male. You might as well name your daughter Fotheringay-Phipps.

    What’s wrong with Catherine?

  7. mactheknife says:

    Boutros Boutros Ghali (so good they named him twice)?

  8. john in cheshire says:

    The actor Lorne Green, who played the father in Bonanza, the US cowboy series in the 60s.

  9. NickM says:

    Julie, it was just the initials.

  10. David says:

    From the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy. A fictitious name but nevertheless along the same lines…. Ford Prefect.

  11. Julie near Chicago says:

    Nick. *Slaps self upside the head. Smartly. Then a couple more times.* D-UH !

    I seem to have been even more literal-minded than usual. Ah well. Yrs Trly is the Village Idiot of the Day. But still appreciative of a good joke :>)!

    Jerkingly Yours,


  12. endivior says:

    The Hispanic tradition of preserving the mother’s maiden name in the offspring by affixing it to the paternal name results in long, sinuous monikers which, while not outright silly, seem somewhat unwieldy to say the least. The Wikipedia clarification that Simon Bolivar was actually called “Simón José Antonio de la Santísima Trinidad Bolívar y Palacios Ponte y Blanco” would be an example.

    However, the fun starts when you throw a little illiteracy into the mix.

    When I first arrived in Ecuador ten years ago, I was mildly perplexed to find that Stalin (occasionally “Stalyn”) was a popular name shared by many of my students. Why would someone want to name their child after a notorious tyrant and mass-murderer? It was when I started to come across the occasional Hitler and Rommel (mostly middle-aged men born in the fifties and sixties) that I decided that the choice of name probably had little or nothing to do with political affiliations and everything to do with the vague notion that your child is more likely to achieve some sort of greatness if given a name borrowed from a history book..

    Latin Americans (or at least Ecuadorians) seem to exhibit a marked preference for names taken from Anglo-Saxon culture, preferably misspelled. Here, you’re far more likely to meet a “Jhon” (sic) or “Jhonny” than a Juan. I also used to have a Sthefanny (pron. Stephanie) in one of my classes. I couldn’t help muttering under my breath ” ‘S the Fanny!” whenever she walked in. But this is nothing compared to the inhabitants of Manabí, a coastal and mostly rural province, where there are cases of parents calling their child “Burguer King”, “Dos a Uno” (presumably after the chosen soccer team won 2-1), “Calcomania” or “Querido Ecuador”. Another popular name around them parts is “Areopagita” (I suppose after Dionysius the Areopagite). This is often misspelled as “Aeropajita” which would translate roughly as “A Quick Airborne Wank”. Quite how this could result in a child is something I’d rather not think about.

  13. Sam Duncan says:

    There’s an Australian racing driver by the name of Will Power.

    And my parents used to know an Ailsa Craig. But that’s only funny when you know where curling stones come from.

    My grandfather used to think “Yul Brynner” was hilarious. But then he did pronounce it “Yull Brye-ner”. (Which is a hard habit to shake, once you start. Ditto “Seen Connery”, another of his.)

  14. NickM says:

    I have mentioned a US Army Reservist with the glorious name, Staff Sergeant Max Fightmaster.

    Now that is a bit much but Max Fightmaster is an IT type. Which is good because he does sound like a computer game.

  15. Jobrag says:

    Why would anyone with the surname head call their son Richard, I know him but have never bought the subject up.

  16. Robert says:

    For Brits of a certain age…

    There is, or was, someone in my town called Berni Inns

  17. Rachel Scotland says:

    I was at school with a S(usan) Hagger …

  18. Sam Duncan says:

    He sounds like a sidekick of Duke Nukem’s, Nick. :) “Now with simultaneous two-player carnage: play as Duke and his buddy Max Fighmaster in FIGHTMASTER TO THE DEATH!”

  19. NickM says:

    Well, it’s not easy to raise (oh, er, Missus) “So how’s young master Dick, Mr Head.

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