"Upset" & other nomenological phenomena

Mon Nov 18 19:07:26 UTC 2002

        "Adolf" forms a real-life example of a name tarred by too-close association with a single figure.  The associational problem seems to arise whenever a name has become closely associated with an actual or imaginary figure and parents consider that the association would be embarrassing for their child.  It doesn't have to be a negative association; it's been said that there is only one Aretha.  Note that the name must be distinctive; "Joseph" is still freely used, in spite of Joseph Stalin.

        Historically, the tendency has gone the other way, with parents or godparents seeking to evoke famous figures.  Many common names can be traced back to some famous progenitor (or, in the case of John, progenitors).

John Baker

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