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Ask Baby Names

Baby name advice from Jennifer Moss, founder of BabyNames.com. Have a question for Jennifer? E-mail it to question@babynames.com

Christian: Name v. Faith
Hello, Jennifer!

I’ve been reading your BabyNames site for a while and I really enjoy it. I have a question about the name Christian. Can it be just a name, not connected with religious views of a person who bears it or his/her relatives? I mean, is it OK if people of other religion than Christianity name their son Christian or is the meaning of the name too strong? I just wonder, not having plans of naming someone with that name.

Thank you!

Kitty, from Moscow, Russia

Dear Kitty,

Christian is an adjective. Here in the U.S., yes, the name is closely associated with the religion and I would guess most often used for Christian children.

Personally, I don’t recommend it for any child. It’s what I call an “expectation” name. An unspoken–well really SPOKEN–expectation is put on the child to live up to the name. Same goes with Charity, Honor, Justice, you get the point.

The names Christopher and Christina, however, have a basis from the word Christian and its faith but are not as closely tied to it. If you are open to using similar names, I would recommend those names.

Sincerely,

Jennifer