If you were Anderson Cooper and you’d been born in Germany, you wouldn’t be Anderson Cooper, because Germany is just one of a surprising number of countries with strict baby-naming rules and regulations. In some instances, as in Italy and Sweden, the motivation is humane -- trying to spare the child embarrassment, ridicule and bullying in the increasingly wild and wooly international baby-name environment. In fact, some of these are not long-standing strictures, but relatively recent ones.
Pictured: Anderson Cooper
Pictured: Actress Alicia Silverstone whose son's name is Bear
Pictured: Designer Carolina Herrera
This name would be out in Iceland because C is not a letter that exists in the Icelandic alphabet. As of 1991, the Icelandic Naming Committee decides whether a new given name is acceptable.
Pictured: Musician Duke Ellington
New Zealand bans names that ‘could cause offense to a reasonable person’, which includes such other titles as Prince, Princess, King, Major, Sargent and Knight.
Pictured: Julia Louis-Dreyfus who played Elaine on "Seinfeld"
Elaine, as well as Alice, Sandy, Laura and Linda are specifically tagged in Saudi Arabia, fitting into the category of names that ‘offend perceived religious sensibilities, are affiliated with royalty or are of non-Arabic or non-Islamic origin.
Pictured: Emma Watson who played Hermione in "Harry Potter"
Pictured: President John F. Kennedy
No, you couldn’t use the surname of a notable namesake -- even one who famously said, “Ich bin ein Berliner”—if you were christening your kid in Berlin.
Pictured: Actress Khandi Alexander who plays Maya Pope on "Scandal"
Though there were close to four thousand baby girls named Maya born in the US last year, you wouldn’t find a single one in Saudi Arabia, where she’s another one singled out for exclusion..
Pictured: The Mona Lisa
This, for some reason, is one of the names explicitly included on the forty-one-page list of banned names in Portugal.
Pictured: Actress Sarah Jessica Parker
In Morocco, it’s no for the Sarah spelling, viewed as the Hebrew version, but yes for Sara, as that is the Arabic version: for the most part Arabic names must be used in Morocco—although a fee can be paid to use certain off-list names, such as Adam.
Pictured: Actor Tom Cruise
In Portugal, no nicknames are allowed on birth certificates, so Tomás would be OK, but not Tom. It’s also on the books there that children’s names must be traditionally Portuguese, a full name, and not unisex.
Pictured: Actress Jennifer Garner and daughter Violet
Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Sonora is a Mexican province. It is a state.
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And here are some more banned baby names...
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