Baby Names for Dummies

While waiting in the check-out line at the local grocery store, I saw a book titled Baby Names For Dummies and amused myself for wondering what its goal was.

  1. Maybe it was a book for dumb people who don't understand what baby names are.

    "You see, babies, like many things, have names. It is considered polite to remember the name of a baby when you are introduced. Baby names are often very similar to names for adults. For most people, their adult name is the same as or very similar to their baby name."

  2. Maybe it was a book for dumb parents, looking for a name for their child.

    "You just had a baby, huh? And the hospital gave you this form asking you to give it a name. What's up with that? This book will help you fill out that form." (Though, personally, I think it would be better if the book went something like this: "Are you a dummy? Thinking of having children? Don't do it.")

  3. Maybe it was a book for giving names to dumb babies.

    "So you have a dumb baby and you have to give it a name. If it's a boy, you might want to consider Cletus." (My apologies to fine people named Cletus.)

Bonus chatter: One of my colleagues proposed a fourth interpretation: Maybe you are a store employee who dresses mannequins and you want help coming up with cute names for them. (On a related note, you might be ventriloquist who is starting an act with a dummy that is a baby.)

Comments (32)
  1. Stewart says:

    It is always possible that the book was about the names that english babies assign to their pacifier.

  2. HA HA HA says:

    Baby names are easy. The hard part is figuring out how to pronounce a GUID.

  3. Sven Groot says:

    Obviously it’s a book that helps you name dumb babies.

  4. Steve Thresher says:

    Would that be Cletus the slack-jawed yocal from the Simpsons?

  5. Me says:

    For #3… ‘Raymond’ is probably the top pick :)

  6. I’ve got another goal : pet names for what the British call pacifiers. (No actual infants involved.) I can’t think of any off the top of my head, though.

    Since IDG struck gold with "DOS For Dummies" they’ve been branching out with more and more titles where the ‘Dummies’ tag makes less and less sense.

  7. Steve Jeffery says:

    @Ritchie, I don’t know how many British people you know but speaking as a native, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who calls a baby’s dummy a pacifier. Or anything else for that matter. Maybe I’m mixing with the wrong people, but so far as I’m concerned it’s a dummy, stupid. ;-D

  8. Ari Pernick says:

    Maybe it has sage advice like "Always do a Web Search on the name, before making a final choice"

  9. noone in particular says:

    @HA HA HA

    For me, "Primus", "Secunda", "Tertius" have always been unique enough.

    Remember,  the names are [url=]salted[/url] by the last name.

  10. RyanC says:

    "Since IDG struck gold with "DOS For Dummies" they’ve been branching out with more and more titles where the ‘Dummies’ tag makes less and less sense."

    My favorite is "Quantum Mechanics and Bell’s Theorem….for Dummies"


  11. Jim says:

    Well it’s nice to know your choices. Now there are so many IT products made in India, a common feature of Indian made software is the bad name for the interface or process. One of my process is named as "Making History"; and I am making it everyday! So this might be right book for naming the IT product, you know what I mean.

  12. Dmitry Kolosov says:

    When I saw the title I thought the article was about Foo, Bar and other identifiers used for dummy variables. Living outside the US, I can’t know if Foo and Bar are actually baby names ;-)

  13. oskopia says:

    Why didn’t you have a look into? Are you a programmer? Do you have to create everything from the scratch, even the specification of existing objects?

    [Sorry. Allow me to tell a less funny story. “While waiting in the check-out line at the local grocery store, I saw a book titled Baby Names For Dummies. It was a guide to choosing baby names.” -Raymond]
  14. SuperKoko says:

    Obviously, girl names are useful to name functions in computer languages.

  15. Ens says:

    I always called the thing babies suck on a "nuke".  When I moved away from home, but still within Southern Ontario, people got confused by this term, so I started to occasionally follow it up with "pacifier" (the use of "nuke" and "pacifier" together makes me wonder at the etymology).

    This is the absolute first I’ve heard of it being called a "dummy".  I didn’t even understand some earlier comments until I came to Steve Jeffery’s comment.

  16. Christian says:

    Thanks for the work you put into SNPP!

  17. Peter says:

    Presumably somewhere there’s a more advanced book that includes names like "Robert’); DROP TABLE Students;–"


  18. SRS says:

    Peter: Citation Needed

  19. hexatron says:

    If you’re really stuck for names, try this list of amazing names:

    I will note that my own slightly unusual hebrew/spanish name was included in the list when I first saw it–I emailed them and they graciously removed it.

    Raymond isn’t there, but Raydon and Raystan are.

  20. Cheong says:

    I found such "naming books" handy when you’re writing fictions.

    When you need to introduce a new character, just flip a random page and choose a name from it. (It doesn’t really matter if the name already exist in the story, we met people with the same first name before, right?)

  21. Jolyon Smith says:

    @Ens –

    (the use of "nuke" and "pacifier" together makes me wonder at the etymology)

    Wondering….  George Clooney vehicle revolving around stolen nuclear weapons, entitled "The PeaceMaker", or indeed the Vin Diesel vehicle (more of a pile-up/RTA than a vehicle) "The Pacifier".

    Suggests, perhaps – the paradoxical or ironic use of a brutally efficient violent person or device to impose calm and peace.

    Whether those movies are the etymology of nuke == pacifier, or just represent a different branch of the SAME etymology….. ?

    I dunno.

  22. Ahsan says:

    Or maybe it was a book for finding baby names for dumb people. Like, Mikey instead of Michael, Pookie instead of Pauline, and so forth.

  23. Steve D says:

    Hmmm, maybe I need a copy of that book for my 18-month old son.  He still hasn’t come up with a name for his dummy, although he still likes it when asleep!  He won’t need a copy of Baby Names for Stuffed Toys, however…

  24. Chirs Nahr says:

    Freakonomics had a section on parenting that mentioned baby names apparently derived from the hospital the baby was born in.  You see, the parents couldn’t be bothered to come up with a real name.  Maybe this book is intended for them?

  25. Rachael says:

    Steve Jeffery:

    Americans call them pacifiers, we call them dummies. Ritchie is presumably American, and so he meant "the word which the British use for pacifiers", not "those things which the British refer to as pacifiers".

  26. Stephen says:

    My personal favorite showed up in the books section of our local super-duper-mega-retailer: Homeschooling for Dummies.  

  27. George Jansen says:

    I’ve heard "nook" or "nuk" for pacifier, but pronounced as if went with cranny.

    As for the book, I’m confident I’ve seen Sex and Reproduction for Dummies; I guess this one just takes them the next step along the way.    

  28. Wolf Logan says:

    @George Jansen, Jolyon Smith, and Ens:

    The term "nuk" (or "nook", or "nuke") most likely comes from NUK Babyartikeln, a German company which manufactures (among other things) dummies/pacifiers with the logo "NUK" emblazoned upon them.

    As for baby names, I can recommend my name in English ("Wolf") with all modesty, but not my name in Esselen ("Umuhk"). It’s hard to pronounce unless you speak German or Gaelic (or Esselen, of course).

  29. wOOdy says:

    … And then there’s also the "Pregnancy for Dummies"; which could make you wonder, what exactly they do explain inside. "Ok, if you want to get pregnant, then you need to …"

  30. Sean says:

    The most common terms for a pacifier that I have heard are "binky" or the shortened "bink".

    I think I actually saw a "Dummies Books For Dummies" somewhere, but maybe it was the "Complete Idiot’s Guide to Complete Idiot’s Guides" – I can never keep them straight.

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