Thomas Crapper. There is evidence that the word carried the same associations as today, and had done for at least 30 years before his birth, making his work on the lavatory an example of Nominative Determinism.
The Sergeant who provided coverage of the 2011 Riots in London was called Mr. Ramsbottom. Pfft! Bottom!
There are lots of names in other languages that are funny in English. To name some: the Dutch names Joke and Freek, or the Japanese last name Aso (which is in Dutch a word used to describe a rude or antisocial person).
American singer-songwriter Kip Moore, whose first name is the Dutch word for chicken.
Until the departure of Gordon Brown in 2010, the British government included Alistair Darling, Ed Balls and Stephen Ladyman. Balls remains Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.
Jeremy Clarkson: Our transport department is now being run by Darling and Ladyman.
On the subject of Gordon Brown, Gordon is actually his middle name. His real first name is James.
Since the incredibly close general election of May 2010, in which no party won a majority and Ed and his wife Yvette (who, wisely, uses her maiden name "Cooper") were both re-elected, Britain had a hung Parliament with a pair of Balls.
The Late Labour leader Michael Foot had an elder brother who was also an MP. His name? Sir Dingle Foot.
Alan Johnson was Balls' predecessor as Shadow Chancellor. Every newspaper, on the day of the switch, ran with the same "Johnson out, Balls in" joke.
Jeremy Hunt, the former Culture Secretary and the Health Secretary. Cue people calling him the "Hulture Secretary", and even people on television make the unfortunate slip of the tongue.
AndrewBonarLaw: Prime Minister from October 1922 'til May 1923. (In Law's time, "boner" was used as a slang term meaning "blunder"; it's current meaning didn't yet exist).
Cree Summer Francks? Not a terrible name for a girl. However, naming her brotherRainbow Sun Francks definitely falls into Unfortunate Names territory for their parents. They are of American Indian descent. Definitely more a case of cultural difference than Unfortunate Name, on the other hand, they were living among non-Indians so they knew the implications from the start.
A Viking king from the early eleventh century is Knut the Great. Or, in many history books, Cnut the Great. Cue the double take. Although Knut is pronounced as "Knoot"
King Harald Bluetooth. Harald Bluetooth's name has only been unfortunate since 1994. The actual Danish names are Knud den Store and Harald Blåtand which can not be interpreted weirdly in Danish. The name's really only unfortunate in English.
Not really as unfortunate as rather quite deliberate. To quote the other wiki: "The word "Bluetooth" is an anglicized version [...] of the [name of] tenth-century king Harald Bluetooth who united dissonant Danish tribes into a single kingdom and created an empire around the North Sea."
A Cherokee man, whose last name was "Pickup", named his son "Chevy Ford". His son had a very hard life and is now in prison. What a dick.
Nicolas Cage named his son Kal-El. Cage spent years mispronouncing it Ka-Lel. Apparently the placement of the hyphen didn't clue him in. Nicolas Cage is also a member of the Coppola family. He chose this name for himself after Luke Cage, Marvel Comics' Power Man. Ironically, Luke Cage wasn't his real name either; he changed it from Carl Lucas after he got out of prison by smashing through the wall.
Several cases where parents have named their kid ESPN. After the cable network.
Many parents name their children after someone famous. Many famous athletes have very silly names. Thus there are thousands of kids running around named Shaquille and Kobe who don't have the consolation of being internationally beloved superstars and millionaires.
The Chinese warlord Cao Cao's personal name (the second Cao) is in modern Chinese one of the many characters for "fuck", and is part of the infamous "grass mud horse" meme.
Cao Cao's son's name was Cao Pi. Granted, it's not pronounced 'cow pie,' but still. But is pronounced Cow pee
A judge intervened, removed custody from her parents, and allowed a nine-year-old girl an early name change, because her parents named her "Talula Does The Hula From Hawaii".
Then there's the name of baseball player Randy Johnson, whose name could be literally taken as "Horny Penis". The fact that his nickname is "The Big Unit" does not help.
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
There is a phenomenon quoted by New Scientist of Nominative Determinism — they list examples of people called De Ath becoming Undertakers, that kind of thing. Which is hilarious, because the surname "De Ath" started out as "Death". It came not from Normandy or Belgium (as the rather silly folk etymology claims) but from the medieval mystery plays, where characters like Death, the Virgin, the Lord, etc. were played every year, and each role was passed down from father to son through the generations. Mind you, the ridiculous folk etymology started because some prudish Victorians were terrified that having the name "Death" meant that their ancestors were morticians, forgetting that morticians didn't exist before Victorian times.
The chief of Brokenhead First Nation in Manitoba is named... Debbie Chief. There's also an ornithologist named Bird.
Smith Wigglesworth. Sounds like a bit-character from Harry Potter, but he was actually the guy who founded the Pentecostal church.
There are people out there with the surname 'Bastard', or some variation thereof. Some of them are in the army, and attain the rank of Major.
There's the surname 'Growcock'.
There is also a psychological aspect in which children are named for the aspirations they want their child to live up to:
Children named Mercedes, Miata, and Porsche. The case of Mercedes is somewhat special, as the car was originally named after a girl. Mercedes was a relatively common first name for girls, especially among Catholics, before the auto maker became well-known. It remains common in Spanish-speaking countries.
This happens all the time in America. "Oh Faith, Faith? Have you seen your sister Hope?" "No, but Charity is here."
In Russia, which also has female names that translate as "Faith", "Hope" and "Love".
Back in 18th century America, there are actual, documented families having girls with names like "Submit" and "Silence".
David Letterman had a Top Ten List about funny names, and the people there showed their driver's licenses to prove them. Names like Theodore Bear, Richard Hurtz, Richard Head, Harold Dong, and Justa Duck.
Texas art collector and daughter of the governor, Ima Hogg. She said that her grandfather tried to stop the christening, but he arrived too late. The name is a bit ironic too since she was actually rather pretty◊.
There are baseball players named Milton Bradley (also the name of a board game company) and Coco Crisp (sounds a lot like a cereal). For a time, the Cleveland Indians starting lineup included both of them. Coco Crisp's real first name is Covelli.
There's a pitcher named Grant Balfour. For those unfamiliar with baseball, "ball four" is not a good thing for a pitcher to be associated with. Although note that it's pronounced "Baal-Four", as in the first syllable of ballet, not "Ball-Four." Still an easy target for road fans' jeering though.
Same deal for former pitcher Bob Walk. Or any pitcher named Walker over the years.
The Cubs have a minor leaguer named Pierce Johnson. Ouch
Russell Jay Kuntz, a.k.a. Rusty Kuntz, a Baseball coach and former outfielder has got to have one of the worst names ever.
A pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds is named David DeWitt Bailey, but got tagged with the nickname "Homer" as a kid, and it stuck through his baseball career. Pitchers usually don't want to be associated with the word "homer"...and what makes it worse is he plays half of his games at a stadium that's known as That One Level for pitchers because it's a small park where balls tend to carry in summer, leading to - you guessed it - a lot of home runs, or "homers."
Which wouldn't top the worse name for a Reds player: former player Dick Pole.
At least it's not as bad as the name of Jason Lee's son: Pilot Inspektor .
Courteney Cox and David Arquette named their daughter Coco. The female English name Coco is particularly unfortunate in Spanish-Speaking countries. For starters, "coco" means «coconut» or «testicle» and "el Coco" ("el Cuco" in some countries) is the monster that comes at night to take away (and possibly eat) kids who misbehave. More so, most Spanish female names end in an 'a'note «Andrea», «Carolina», etcetera while male names end with an 'o'note «Bernardo», «Rodrigo», etcetera - the only well-known female Spanish name ending with an 'o' is «Loreto»note which, oddly enough, corresponds to "Loretta" in English, so someone unfamiliar with the name would assume it belongs to a man, not to a woman. To make it even worse, "Coco" can't be replaced by a different but similar-meaning Spanish namenote for example, the Arabic name "Tawfiq" means "good fortune", so replacing it in Spanish to «Fortunato» -"fortunate", in English- isn't a stretch., and it can't transformed into the "feminine" «Coca» without alluding to cocaine.
British singer, actor, playright, Sir Noël Coward was nothing at all like his surname might indicate. He was active in British Intelligence during World War II and was in fact on the Nazi List of Naughty People We Shall Definitely Arrest if Göring Ever Gets His Act Together.
There was a cartoon in the National Lampoon about a guy whose last name was Kismias. He kept bungling social situations, getting in trouble with the cops, etc., but he got his revenge by marrying and begetting a lot of little Kismiases.
After Alex Haley's Roots came out, there were many children named Kunta Kinte. Kunta Kinte is a real name in Africa, but it was not one that was in common use in the USA until then. It is not in common usage in the USA now, so it is a tweaked example.
Stephen Bond has written about the social implications of his surname.
Try being the ornithologist who James Bond was named after.
The name of the photographer that took pictures during the 1947 Roswell Incident was named James Bond Johnson. He preferred to be called J. Bond Johnson though, and Ian Fleming's James Bond wasn't created until 1952.
Ross Perot's choice for Vice President in 1992 was named James Bond Stockdale. Best known for forgetting where he was during the middle of a debate.
In one JLA adventure set in Turkey, this was naturally played for comedy. Batman wanted to know where Ilibis was hiding, but the peon would only say "Batman!"
Not exactly rare, the name root - the singer of "Vampire Weekend" is Rostam Batmanglij. note Meaning "Large Sword" or something like that, purportedly.
There is a singer named Crystal Waters.
... And the Lear family (of LearJet fame) named one of their daughters Crystal Shanda.
A speaker at an Asian conference congratulated Western delegates for pronouncing his name Lee Bum Suk correctly, and not making it Lee Boom Sook (according to a newspaper clipping reprinted in Fortean Times).
Freakonomics devotes a chapter to the reasons names are chosen, and the effects their bearers' lives, including Winner Lane, remarkable only for his criminal record, and his brother Loser, a decorated police officer.
Jamaican Olympic Sprinter Usain Bolt is considered one of if not the fastest man alive.
Celebrities seem to consider it a prestige thing to give their children Unfortunate Names. To quote Seanbaby: "Most times, you can't trust famous people near a birth certificate."
Bruce Willis has three daughters—Rumer Glenn, Scout LaRue, and Tallulah Belle. Talluah Belle isn't that bad—a bit old-timey and Southern, but they're real names. Scout LaRue is a bit odd, but there is precedent for a girl having the earned nickname Scout (To Kill a Mockingbird can't be the first time it happened). Rumer Glenn is named after children's author, Rumer Godden.
Dweezil and Moon Unit are the children of Frank Zappa. Frank actually wanted to name the kid Dweezil, but they wouldn't let him. Moon Unit One is less of an example than it seems. Her name is Moon; "unit one" is a descriptor, referring to her being the first child.
The Phoenix family has River and Rainbow. And Leaf. Though he now goes by Joaquin. Their younger sisters are named Liberty and Rain.
For bonus points, the birth family name was actually "Bottom" - so River Phoenix (which actually borders Awesome McCoolname if you think about it) was born River (Jude) Bottom.
Penn Jillette defended naming his son Zoltan as follows: "It's a proper Hungarian name, and my wife's maiden name. It's also the name of Dracula's dog." He doesn't have such a good excuse for naming his daughter (Zoltan's older sister) "Moxie CrimeFighter", however.
The lead singer of Korn, Jonathan Davis, has named two of his sons Pirate and Zeppelin.
Football player Magnus Hedman named his first son Lancelot, which is fairly okay. However he named his second son Tristan From Avalon.
Actress Kimberly Elise apparently named her children AjaBleu and Butterfly.
From Brazil, Marcelo D2, a guy who clearly overcomes Snoop Dogg regarding... recreational herbs (for starters, his former band was called Planet Hemp and 90% of their songs defended legalizing and/or smoking), named his daughter Maria Joana. And he tried to deny saying he just liked the name!
It's probably considered unfortunate now to be named Michael Jackson. In the UK, people with that name include a general and a TV executive.
A black man by that name, though unrelated to the singer, ran for office in Louisiana's 6th Congressional district in 2008. Nearly every time the election was mentioned on the Swing State Project blog, references were made to Michael Jackson (the singer) songs. The best was "This is Bad; he needs to Beat It."
Speaking of which, MJ's children are named Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. (a.k.a. Prince), Paris Michael Katherine Jackson (girl), and Prince Michael Jackson II (a.k.a. "Blanket", the one dangled from a balcony). He ran out of ideas awfully fast. Mother Debbie Rowe says he wanted to name the girl "Princess", but she convinced him otherwise.
Prince was after Jackson's grandfather. Whose name was Prince Albert (which doesn't seem unfortunate until one remembers that it's a genital piercing).
Michael's brother Jermaine named one of his kids Jermajesty!
Even better, "Blame It On The Boogie", was originally written and recorded by a German-born Englishman — Michael Jackson. And released at the same time as the better-known cover version.
Michael Jackson was also the name of one of the most famous beer and whisky critics in the world.
Currently, a Scientologist named "Feline Butcher" is being prosecuted in Los Angeles for 18 counts of practicing medicine without a license. Kind of interesting considering that Scientology allegedly has a history of injuring and/or killing the pets of its critics to scare them into silence.
Speaking of Italy, the current leader of one of the national police forces is called Antonio Manganelli. Manganelli means "truncheons" in Italian.
Sarah Palin's children Track Enfield, Bristol, Willow, Piper Indy Grace, and Trig Paxson Van. She has recently announced the intention to name a hypothetical sixth child Zamboni. She apparently names her children after where they were conceived. When she was still just Governor of Alaska she informed a family friend of this at a gathering. note Track = we can only assume an actual Track or field, Bristol = Bristol Bay, Willow = Willow, AK, Piper = Piper Aircraft, Trig = who knows (in a van, perhaps?) Trig also is a really unfortunate name when you consider that he has Down syndrome, known in the medical community as trisomy G. One has to wonder if Palin actually knew this or not beforehand.
Her daughter Bristol named her son Tripp, making it look like a family naming tradition in the works.
Alice Cooper named his daughters Calico and Sonora Rose. His son was luckier: his name is Dashiell.
Sonora is a Mexican state, and a large portion of the Sonora Desert is in Arizona, where Alice lives. Sonora Rose is just a more specific, regional version of "desert rose".
Honda had to rename one of their car models, Honda Fitta ("small on the outside, but it feels big once you're in it!") when launching it in Scandinavia since "fitta" is the Swedish word for "cunt."
Hall of Fame NFL player Dick Butkus. Although, given his deserved reputation for extreme toughness, he arguably turned it into an Awesome McCoolname.
A Date With Judy gives us the actor Mr. Oogie Pringle.
Who could forget eminent German-born actor Oscar Homolka?
Nothing says "I'm a Utah Mormon!" like naming your baby girl Vulva Mae. Really.
What about Blessing Ream?
A woman in South Carolina named Princess Killingsworth tried to kill her boyfriend by running him over with her car during an argument. Really.
There is at least one British resident called Slobodan Milosevic, who needless to say was on the receiving end of quite a few prank calls during the Balkan wars.
British tenor Paul Potts, whose name unfortunately sounds somewhat like the nickname of a certain Cambodian dictator.
Mongolian names, for complicated cultural reasons, often translate as things like "Who's That?" or "Bad Dog." That Other Wiki says it has to do with misdirecting evil spirits.
Tim Allen was born Timothy Allen Dick; you think that's bad, pity his Uncle Richard. Not to mention his cousin Peter.
By his own account, he played that for laughs in a minor argument one time, telling his adversary something along the lines of, "Yeah, I'm a Dick! My father's a Dick, too! I come from a long line of Dicks!" The woman he was arguing with, who didn't know who he was, was shocked.
Three highly unfortunate kids in New Jersey were named Adolf Hitler, JoyceLynn Aryan Nation, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie. They made national news after their mother and father threw a fit over being refused a birthday cake for young Adolf. Here's the full story.
Strangely, Indian politician Adolf Lu Hitler Marak does not seem to suffer from the same problems.
Most likely because in India Adolf Hitler is just another historical figure from half a world away. You know, like Shiro Ishii for Europeans.
Not to mention Frankenstein Momin, Billy Kid Sangma, Britainwar Dan, Bombersingh Hynniewta, Laborious Manik Syiem, Tony Curtis Lyngdoh, Hilarius Pohchen, Boldless Nongrum, Clever Marak, so on and so forth.
A postman in Harrow, made briefly famous by Twitter, who embraced the jokes by adding his middle initial to his name badge: "Chris P. Bacon".
P. G. Wodehouse's name was Pelham Grenville. A popular rumor is that he refused knighthood for years to put off being known as Sir Pelham.
Also, his surname refers to what was, essentially, the medieval English version of Bigfoot.
Dick Sprang: Legendary Golden Age artist who designed the Riddler alongside Bob Kane and pretty much defined the art style for the Caped Crusader during the fifties (incidentally enough, he did not do the artwork for the infamous "Joker's Boner" story.)
New Hampshire senator Jeanne Shaheen. And the man she ran against was named John Sununu.
The name of a contestant on an early series of Big Brother — however, it was later revealed to be a nickname derived from what had been his best school subject and his real first name was the more ordinary Kieran.
Someone named Robert Burns called Car Talk. Click and Clack (the hosts) always refer to him as "Rrrrrrrrrroberrrrrrrrrt Burrrrrrrrrns," with an exaggerated Scots accent.
Another Car Talk ep had a caller named "Aroop Gupta". Not that odd, but Click and Clack thought it was just fun to say, and actually spent a good 30 seconds just saying "Aroop Gupta" again and again while poor Aroop sat on the line, patiently chuckling and waiting for them to shut up so he could get to his question.
In New York State in the 1940's and 50's, there was a man. A man who was appointed Head of Middletown State Homeopathic Hospital. This was, however, not just any man. This man was Dr. Hyman Pleasure.
Harry Baals, former Mayor of Fort Wayne, IN.
He was well liked enough to get a road named after him after he died so the name will live on. Decades later the city had a vote to decide the name a new government building. Planners thought it would be a good idea to put the vote online so it would be easy for people to vote. Harry won, but the officials decided they wanted a different name.
Even funnier because, like just about everybody in the military, he's got a nickname. In this case, "Boomer".
It just has to be awkward to dub Anime with the name YuriLowenthal.
In the same way, it just has to be awkward to dub something in Chile with the name Rene Pinochet. (He's the Chilean VA of Aang, and Pinochet is a common last name there, but outside Chile, his last name is almost synonymous of the infamous Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet).
With a voice actor named Rodger Bumpass, no wonder Squidward is such a grouch.
"Roger" is slang for sex.
Gay anal sex, no less... doubly funny when you realize one of his Spongebob costars is named Bill Fagerbakke.
One of the Deans of the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University is Muffin Lord.
Benno Baksteen (litterally translated Brick) was a Dutch airline pilot and for nearly a decade, the president of the Dutch federation of airline pilots, and as such, appeared on national television various times.
Believe it or not, John Cleese's father was born Reginald Cheese— a perfectly Pythonian name if there ever was one. Reginald changed his surname by one letter upon joining the army, and the new name was passed on to his son.
A Japanese family with the last name Oke decide to name their daughter Carrie.
What about a urologist named Dick Chopp? Specializing in vasectomies, no less.
The name Pedro is very similar to the word that would most accurately be translated as "faggot" in most ex-Yugoslavian languages.
In Poland it is often sometimes used as a light-hearted reference to homosexual (sometimes as 'don Pedro', after a cult classic cartoon).
Anne Rice's original name was Howard Allen O'Brien - after her father - as her mother thought that it would be a "pretty interesting thing to do". On the first day of school, when asked what her name was, she said "Anne".
Singer Peter Noone (prounounced like the middle of the day) of Herman's Hermits was the recipient of many "no one" jokes during his childhood. In more recent years he's cracked the joke himself so many times that nobody else bothers anymore.
In a MythBusters episode, Adam and Jamie were shown in an aircraft museum, and their tour guide was North East West. (Given, Middle and last name, respectively.)
A French immigrant living in the Atlanta area bore the unfortunate name of Patrick Molesti. He is currently being sought by police on child pornography charges.
Another hockey player with a unfortunate last name is the Russian Alexander Semin. What makes it worse is that he's currently teammate with a player named Brooks Laich (last name pronounced "like"). This means that there's always the possibility (and a frequent joke on hockey forums) that the team will play the forward lineup (a forward lineup constisting of three players): (random player), Laich...
It doesn't qualify. They are regular Russian names that are pronounced, respectively as 'sehmeen' (exactly as in the word 'seminal') and 'laikh' (it's nowhere near 'like'). On the other hand, 'Laich' sounds like work for 'cadaver' in German.
Also, the goaltender for the Washington Capitals is named Semyon Varlamov. His name was listed as something else in NHL 2009
Which is an interesting case. Russian variant of this name is pronounced 'syemyohn'. Ukrainian variant is pronounced exactly as Latin term 'semen'.
NHL defenseman Grant Clitsome.
Dick Pound. Bonus points for having a job that makes a huge deal of urine tests - and making a few enemies along the way.
The cover on his book, Inside the Olympics, adds an unintended visual pun that has to be seen to be believed. The reviews on that link take full advantage of the humor.
The Canadian voice actor, probably best known for dubbing the eponymous character in InuYasha: Richard Ian Cox. It must have been a joy to be him in middle school.
There's another Canadian voice actor named Anna Cummer.
Actress Marcia Gay Harden, known for the role of Sara Reynolds from Flubber.
Wilma Mankiller, first female chief of the Cherokee Nation.
According to the Annals of Improbable Research, one man's passport literally reads "Odd Person".
Court TV carried a trial where an FBI agent testified. Special Agent Jeffrey Dahmer. No relation.
One of the leaders of the white supremacist movement in South Africa was Eugne Terreblanche (the last name being French for "white land".
Dan Le Batard is an American sports writer.
Jazz pianist Dick Hyman.
And American volleyball player Flo Hyman.
Dolores. Doesn't seem bad at first, but when you consider its origins...note It comes from the Latin doleo, dolere, to be sad, upset, in pain And then even more so when you consider that a popular nickname for Dolores used to be Lolita, before a certain book caused the author to joke that he was the reason no one named their daughters that anymore.
Iker Casillas, the leader of the Spanish football team that won the 2010 World Cup, had his surname translated from Spanish as "toilet."
One of the candidates in the 2010 General Elections in the Netherlands was called Patricia Assmann, hailing from the city of Nijmegen, and parts of the city and the surrounding area were covered in posters bearing her face and her name in large letters. If the elections had been just a bit later, said posters would have been around for the annual event which draws huge quantities of mostly English-speaking foreigners to the area.
The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, had been ratted by his critics lately, using the first three letters of his surname to mock him.
A local television anchor is named Randy Beamer. And the biggest supermarket chain in the area, which successfully drove out competition from stores such as Kroger and Albertsons, was started by a man named Howard E. Butt, who used his initials as the store's name.
There is even a Product line for babies called "Baby Butt".
In Germany, there are still some people with the family name Goebbels. Some try to change their name or insist to speak it as "Goebels".
Concha seems to be a normal female name in Spain. In Argentina, however, the word got the meaning of "pussy". So it's not anormal to find an old woman in the family with the unfortunate name, often combined with unfortunates married last names, creating gems like "Concha de Vaca" ("Cows pussy").
In the years since the Harry Potter books became bestsellers, people with that name may have had a lot of annoying callers and visitors. There's got to be thousands of Harry Potters out there between America and the UK. There's at least one Australian journalist called Harry Potter.
Lipschitz, and its variations.
A man once named his son Junior. No middle name, just Junior xxxxxxx. When Junior grew up and had a son, he was named Junior xxxxxxx Jr.
Chris Buttars (yes, that's his real name), whose record and reputation is as unfortunate as his name. It was very, very easy for him to be nicknamed "Buttarse".
Leonard Woodcock, who in the '70s headed the United Auto Workers and then served as U.S. ambassador to China under Jimmy Carter.
Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn (whose surname rhymes with "toe burn", FYI).
The San Francisco Giants have two pitchers named Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner. Their childhoods must have sucked.
A non-comedic version of this is true about common African-American names. Various studies have been conducted, that say basically that office type jobs will take the resume of someone named Amber more seriously than someone named Shaniqua. The same is also true in some places of foreign sounding names, which is why many foreigners upon coming to the U.S. adopt an American name. Some of them try to be close to their original names (for example Jun Mei may become June May) but some may pick the most American sounding name they can find (for example American politician Bobby Jindal's real first name is Piyush).
People from Africa who move to America have strange sounding names to American ears, but they are not discriminated as much as the ones with names like Shaniqua, because unlike Shaniqua, they do not have the implication of uneducated parents.
Recently, there was a gubernatorial candidate in Illinois named Rich Whitney. Not remotely unfortunate in and of itself, but due to a clerical error, some voting machines dropped the 'n' from his surname.
New York congressman Anthony Weiner is bad enough, but his father's name is Seymore Weiner. And then to make it worse, Anthony Weiner got involved in a sex scandal involving pictures of guess which body part...
The press had way too much fun coming up with punny headlines when the scandal broke. "Obama beats Weiner" and "Weiner: I'm sticking it out" among them.
When he attempted a political comeback, we were all gifted with photos of him at a gay pride parade, accompanied by supporters carrying signs that read, "We Want Wiener."
Zach Weiner, cartoonist of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, apparently didn't think his birth name was embarrassing enough, and changed it to Weinersmithnote Or maybe it's part of his master plan to troll his future children.
One of the first presidents of the bank of America was Preserved Fish. It's pronounced Pre-ZER-vid, and was actually a common name among Quakers at the time. The worst part is, he is correctly Preserved Fish III.
The surname Unkovich will become this in Japan, where "Unko" means "shit" and "vich" is pronounced like "bitch".
Hungarian-American director Nimród Antal.note There is nothing particularly derogatory about the name 'Nimrod', who appears in The Bible as an early powerful figure (part of the reason why the name was revitalized among non-religious Zionists, as he predates the introduction of the Jewish religion). The only reason it came to be an insult was from misunderstandings of a one-off line in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.
Miss New Zealand 2011 Priyani Puketapunote it's bad enough when the first four letters mean vomit and, in Philippine slang, it means vagina. That elicited chuckles when Philippine tropers initially heard about the name.
Despite the unfortunate-sounding name, she looks like this.
Being Osama is a 2004 Canadian documentary film about six Montreal Arab men, who suffered various kinds of harassment, just because their first name is Osama.
There was an article man named Stewart Pid, one can just imagine the insults he got back in the day.
Jerry Mander. As in gerrymander.note The practice was named after Eldridge Gerry, a 19th Century Massachusetts governor who first carved out a salamander-shaped district to give his party the best electoral advantage. But his name was pronounced with a hard 'G'.
Some have proposed naming their daughter Elphaba or Nessarose. There are quite a few Glindas too.
Wonder if he's ever been interviewed by Baltimore Sun baseball writer Peter Schmuck?
Sebastian Vettel became the youngest man to win the formula one world championship in 2010. "Vettel" happens to be a (old-fashioned) German word meaning "disagreeable old woman" (coined by students from Latin vetula).
What about President and CEO of Food for the Poor Mr. Robin Mahfood!!
One couple in New York, mentioned in Freakonomics, named their daughter Temptress. They meant to name her Tempestt (after the actress Tempestt Bledsoe), but made a very unfortunate spelling error on the birth certificate.
The Dutch / Flemish surnames "Depute" and "Vandepute" sounds like this in French. "Pute" is the French for "whore".
Political commentator Krystal Ball, whose parents burdened her with a "porn star name".
Political news commentator, George Stephanopoulos, a surname that's quite a mouthful. The poor guy must have caught hell in grade school.
Greek surnames can be even more complex; thankfully, they sound exactly as they are spelled out, so it's only a matter of practice for non-natives to pronounce them correctly.
Any Brazilian athlete who got the name Ricardinho. Which sounds just fine in their native lands, until the name was translated to English which became Little Richard...
But in Brazil it's better not to nickname Ricardão, "Big Richard", instead. It's the local nickname for "the other guy" in an adultery.
Keith Wakefield, a councillor for Leeds City Council and Labour Party member. Not such an Unfortunate Name you would think... except Wakefield is the city which considers itself Leeds' biggest rival (after Sheffield and Hull). OK, so it's not like the examples above, but, It Makes Sense in Context.
Hungary has its share, to the point where some became so infamous that it's hard to tell if they're true names or just jokes. A seemingly legit one is Fütty Imre (fütyimre = onto my cock). What more, in some parts of the country, Buzi (Gay/Faggot) is apparently a common family name, originally derived from the tame Búzai.
Rafael "Rafe" Bartholomew recounts in his book Pacific Rims how his nickname became a very unfortunate one in parts of the Philippines where the local language or dialect makes little distinction between "p" and "f."
In a TV ad for Shake 'n Bake, the woman doing one of those (supposedly) improvised, random person off the street, product endorsements was named Topi Smeli.
If you shorten the first name of film editor Tom Rolf A.C. E. to a single letter you get something frightening similar to trollface (T. Rolf A.C.E.)
Irish Rugby League player Wayne Kerr... think about it! Makes you wonder about his motivation to get into such a macho sport.
The Dutch radio station 3fm has a yearly contest for these: the national shame-name (de nationale schaamnaam) winners include Fokje Modder and Stanley Messie (a boxcutter is named a Stanleymes in the Netherlands).
The creator of Ni Hao, Kai-Lan is named Karen Chau. However, it is said that her actual Chinese name is Kai-Lan Chau, or when written in the traditional family name-given name format, Chau Kai-Lan, which unfortunately means stinking (Chinese) broccoli in some Chinese dialects. It's understandable on why she got her name changed.
Even better (or worse), her last name sounds like "Chao", who means goodbye in Italian and Spanish. Good-bye Kai-Lan!.
Dickie Peterson, the bassist/vocalist for the hard rock band Blue Cheer.
The Greek military leader Theodoros Kolokotronis had a last name that literally translates to "bullet in the ass".
In some cultures, children get unfortunate names or unfortunate nicknames in belief that this would keep demons from paying too much attention to them (the "logic" being that no self-respecting monster would consider a child named, for example, "Dog Shit", worth stealing). Then, once they've grown up enough to be considered an adult, they give themselves a Meaningful Name of their own choosing.
In others, girls aren't valued as much as boys, so they get names that translate into "Get Me a Boy Next Time".
In Chilean slang, up until about the '90s, "pirulo" used to mean "uppity"; the female form "pirula" used to have a secondary, barely used, meaning: "penis". Since then, the former meaning has fallen out of usage, while the latter has become dominant. Unsurprisingly, this doesn't amuse people with the surname Pirula.
Any male with a last name like Bate, Bates, or Bateman, as a slight alteration in the title "Mister" can create an unfortunate combination.
Jay Leno once showed his audience a flyer advertising the law firm of "Ted B. Lyon".
There was a massage therapist who got arrested for offering her clients sex named Suk-Kim Hoh.
There is a family with the surname Christmas. They got tired of the jokes and went with it. Now there's a Carol, a Noelle, and other themed names.
The website Bad Baby Names has some choice examples, including suggested baby names like Colt, Celestial Rage, and Unique. One unfortunate little girl was named Rammit Deep.
The Colorado politician, Randy Baumgardener.
Arab newscasters landed with a bit of a problem when Jean-Marc Ayrault was appointed Prime Minister of France in 2012, since his name pronounced correctly sounds like a Lebanese and Palestinian slang term for "cock". CNN Arabic decided to avoid the issue by deliberately mispronouncing it and voicing the last two silent letters, while Al-Arabiya chose to pronounce it properly but use a different transliteration.
A Hungarian comedian once remarked how easy (and cheap) it is to make fun of certain famous names, like Sarah Palin, which sounds like "szar a palin" ("shit on the guy") or Barack Obama (barack being Hungarian for peach), at the same time pointing out that it works both ways: there's politician Szili Katalin, pronounced as "Silly Katalin".
Peter Jurasik is not related to Dinosaurs.
Orina is a popular name for females in Slavic-speaking countries, mainly Russia and Ukraine. However, in Spanish, it literally means "urine."
Mexican politician Jorge Madrazo. In Mexican Spanish, madrazo is a slang word that can be translated as getting the shit beated out of him.
Tokyo Sexwale, Minister of Human Settlements of South Africa.
Innocent. Seriously, it's even a real name. This leads to some hilarious and awkward moments when a person with that name commits a crime, then gets convicted with the words "Innocent is guilty of (insert name of crime here)."
After A Serbian Film, every man named Milos in Serbia now is subject to this, as well as every Vukmir (and to a lesser degree, those named Vuk). The difference is Vukmir was one of the most popular names in Serbia just three years prior to the film's release, while Milos was never a big name and is increasingly old fashioned to boot.
The surname 'Butt' is actually quite common in the Indian subcontinent, which doesn't typically mean anything bad in any of the 200 dialects. When they go to Western Countries however, the children generally do get teased.
Pille Rünk's name is probably quite innocent and ordinary in her native Estonia, where she works as a producer. However, she has done some production work on Swedish films, and in Sweden her names are slang words for penis and the act of manual stimulation thereof, respectivelynote at least if the umlaut is removed. It looks really strange when the credits roll.
When the Mercury Seven, USA's first astronauts, were selected in 1959 and immediately made famous by the American press, Lt Col "Gus" Grissom posed a bit of a problem. His first name, Virgil, didn't sound as All-American as one would have wished. How about his middle name, then? Ivan? So, it was Gus ever since.
With as many Popes as there have been, there are bound to be a few names that would be unintentionally humorous today. For instance, Pope Hilarius. And one can be sure that since 1980, there will be one, and only one, Pope Lando.
Walter Dix, an Olympic bronze medalist, defeated Tyson Gay in a race over hurdles in October 2010. It might have passed unnoticed, but Reuters just couldn't resist the opportunity to put up the headline "Tired Gay succumbs to Dix in 200 meters".
Coincidental example: Harpo Marx. Especially unfortunate considering his fame in the 30s and 40s, because his birth name was Adolf.
Selena Gomez does not sound like it fits this trope, but it does. A woman with the name of Selina Gomez frequently got mentions on Leeds-based radio stations between 2003 and now, but whether it was her real name, a stage name or a pseudonym is unknown, but if it was her real name, it could now be considered unfortunate by some. Now, as of 2013, some people wrongly think it was the Selena Gomez participating in Leeds radio shows!
Joey Fatone of *NSYNC fame was often mispronounced as Joey "FAT-one" instead of "FUH-tone". He was also a size larger than his bandmates and as part of his self-deprecating Large Ham persona, describes himself as the "Fat One" as his Twitter profile.
Banker James M. Fail often donated large sums of money to his alma mater, the University of Alabama, which he credited with his success in business. However, he turned down offers to give his name to a college facility, saying, "After all, who would want anything with the name 'Fail' on it?" Finally, in 2008 they figured out a deserving facility to be honored with the "Fail" name... the visitors' locker room.
Andrea for some reason is a popular name for females in the West. What they don't realize is that the name itself originally comes from the Greek word meaning "man". Suffice to say, if you're a woman with that name, and you travel to Greece, people are going to laugh at you for having such an Ironic Name. A case of Cross Cultural Kerfluffle as well.
The Spanish minister of Education is called José Ignacio Wert. Due to the massive amount of hate he's gotten, he's nicknamed Wertgüenza («vergüenza» - "shameful") or Wertedero («vertedero» - "garbage dump"), for example.