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  • Name advice from Jennifer Moss,
    founder of BabyNames.com

Perception of the name India

Hi Jennifer,

I’m wondering about your thoughts on the name India. When choosing a name for me twenty-two years ago, my parents considered both India and Hilary, however, they went with the latter because they were too nervous to give me such an exotic name.

To this day, we all love the name, however, many people have criticized it. They say it sounds, for lack of a better term, like a stripper name. My mother’s name is Jane, my middle name is Jane, and I think India Jane sounds classy and unique. Not only that, I am a huge fan of Gone With the Wind, and I know there is a character named India in the novel/movie. It is easy to spell, and pronounce.

Is it cheap sounding? Would it be associated with the country?

Thanks, Hilary

Hi Hilary,

I’m not sure if you’re asking about the name India for you (changing your name) or for a baby or a character in a novel. Either way, I can only give you my opinion.  I do not perceive the name India as being cheap, at all.  Yes, it is a place name and therefore will be associated with the country. For a fictional character, you are right: it is easy to spell and easy to pronounce and therefore gets my approval! As an aside, Margaret Mitchell did an awesome job naming her characters in GWTW.

From the point of view of an American, the name India could seem “exotic.” But exotic does not equal exotic dancer! I don’t see India as a stripper name, at all.  But like I said, everyone has their own name perceptions.  Maybe I can put a call out to the readers of the column?  What do you think?

Sincerely,

Jennifer

Perception of the name Barnaby
Dear Jennifer,
I have always found it easy to choose girls names, and my husband is far more open minded when it comes to girls names. We have only been blessed with boys however lol I have recently been crushing on the name Barnaby nn Barny, I haven’t shared the name with anyone yet though, because I know people will associate it with the purple dinosaur, and try to talk me out of it. My question to you is, does that even matter? I mean when you hear a name it’s easy to criticize, but would people care so much if it was actually on a person? -Aubrey

Hi Aubrey,

That is a good question. There are two types of perception when it comes to names: personal perception and mass perception. Personal perception is when you identify the name with something in your own life (a schoolyard bully, past boyfriend). Mass perception is when you–and others–would associate the name with a famous person, character or celebrity (Adolf, Oprah, or Scarlett).

When it comes to Barny, yes, I would think of either the purple dinosaur or the character on How I Met Your Mother. Or Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith show (although that dates me). None of the three are very great associations.

Look at the name from the perspective of the child. Can it grow with him? Will it be an advantage or a burden? Think about this and then decide.

Sincerely,
Jennifer

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