The tradition of giving cute names to unborn babies

Many of my friends gave names to their unborn babies. Most of them were based on various objects that were the size of the adorable little parasite¹ at the time they discovered that they were pregnant:

  • The Peanut
  • Gumdrop
  • Jellybean
  • Blueberry
  • Mr. Bean

There were a few outliers, though.

That last one takes a bit of explaining. Having grown tired of people asking her what she was planning on naming the baby, my friend made up an absurd name and used it with a straight face. "We're think of naming her Aubergine, if it's a girl." People would respond with a polite but confused "Oh, that's an interesting name."

Then, still deadpan, she would add, "If it's a boy, then we're leaning toward Mad-Dog."

That usually tipped people off that she was just messing with them.


¹ A peek behind the curtain: I couldn't decide whether to write fetus or embryo, and I knew that if I picked one, then people would say that I should've picked the other, so I decided to avoid the issue entirely by writing "adorable little parasite". This is what nitpickers have turned me into.

Comments (30)
  1. Clinton says:

    Our parasite was known as "Eggbert" before birth. This annoyed the heck out of family and friends that we wouldn't give hints as to the sex or future name of the kid.  

  2. Massif says:

    Foetus and Embryo are the names for the unborn baby at different stages in development, as such they're mutually exclusive and of course everyone would have told you off for picking the wrong one…

    As to what the right term is for an unborn child, I think the adorable little parasite label is probably right. Although given that the embryonic stage is much shorter than the foetal one, foetus is probably more right than embryo.

  3. Massif says:

    Oh, and we went for a combination of the chosen male (Harry) and female (Isabel) name, but only in private because we didn't want people thinking we were talking about a brand of cheese or sweet.

  4. Markus says:

    Is it wise to let the nitpickers know that they have such a power over you?

  5. Eric Lippert says:

    I have friends whose unborn children were given code names, much as products are given code names until the real name is announced: "Zebula" and "Vorlon" in this particular case.

  6. No One says:

    I thought calling an eggplant would fit the approximate shape like the rest seem to.  Naming a girl Aubergine, however, would yield a lot of humor when she started traveling after growing up.  (AFAIK, the word aubergine is far more common than eggplant outside the US.)

  7. Cheddar says:

    Our first daughter was Cletus in utero.

  8. Troll says:

    There is a guy I know who is named "Latest". Except that he's no longer the latest. :D

  9. Hawke says:

    Our unborn child was named “Justice”.  That way if it died in utero, it would be a “Miscarriage of Justice”

  10. Rick Schaut says:

    Our unborns were referred to as "sprout," giving rise to the semi-poetic moniker of Sprout Schaut.

  11. Alex Grigoriev says:

    I don't believe my eyes. Raymond forgone his NY Times spelling standards and wrote "fetus". It's "fœtus".

  12. Anonymous Coward says:

    The embryo / fœtus isn't a parasite, since for that to be the case, the symbionts must by definition be of different species.

  13. Alex Grigoriev says:


    There is "parasitic twin" term.

  14. Ken Hagan says:

    @Hawke: I'd call that tempting Fate.

  15. Gabe says:

    How the heck did "fetus" get an "o" in it? Is this some strange Britishism?

    Anyway, I preferred Bunsen (like a Bunsen burner), as "the bun's in the oven" — or just Bunny for short.

  16. Jeff says:

    We never named ours, but everyone else called her Bean.

  17. Crescens2k says:

    Foetus has been in use in the in the British Commonwelth since around 1594. But the o may date as far back as St. Isidore in 620AD.

    So before you call it strange, at least remember that it has been in use in the UK for almost 200 years longer than the USA was recognised.

  18. Brian Reiter says:

    My wife and I used "the little hitch-hiker" as the baby moniker in utero.  

  19. Anonymous for good reason says:

    Our first unborn kid got called the sprog (common in the UK, not sure about the US) so as a baby we called him the Sproggler.

    The second time round, we wanted to do the same but slightly different. So we tried to think of another meaningless syllable. Being a nerd, I thought of grep. And it stuck.

    So the poor girl is nearly one year old and we still mostly call her Grepples. And, sometimes, Helen.

    I swear I am not making this up.

  20. David Walker says:

    Zebula is a great name for a child of any sex!

  21. kbiel says:

    Boudreaux/Boudrette. We lived in Dallas at the time, which is close enough to Louisiana that some took us seriously at first.

  22. steveg says:

    Blobbie/Blobby depending on whether we thought it was a boy or a girl that day. Little Blobby Tables?

  23. Marcus says:

    We use "Malwine Tabea", even if it might eventually turn out a boy :-)

  24. Paul says:

    Mad-Dog?! I hate that name! I hate it! You hear? Nobody calls me Mad-Dog!

  25. Eduardo Habkost says:

    During the whole pregnancy my wife and I referred to the unborn creature (that is a 5 month old boy today :) as "maior que mil", that's portuguese for "greater than one thousand". That was because the first evidence we had of his existence was a piece of paper showing "> 1000" as the pregnancy test results (it was a beta-hCG test, if I recall correctly).

  26. Nick says:

    I always kid that we plan to name our child  “Jalapeño”  read phonetic.

  27. Kevin says:

    My other (better) half is a Doctor of Physiology.  My number one method of winding her up is by writing fetus with an 'o' in it.  Apparently it's a bit of a no-no.

    Anyhow – while number one was still in the internal phase (sex unknown), we called it 'Barney McGrew'.  We did stop after the birth though, which, as she turned out to be a little girl, she's probably quite pleased about.

  28. Random says:

    Hilarious names, all.

    Anyhow, I had to share that my friend's name for their future crotch-fruit was Trogdor. I was horribly sad when they gave him a normal name upon delivery.

  29. Stu says:

    Ours was Ickie – short for Ichabod which is what we told everyone we were going to call it.

  30. 640k says:

    If you don't name your baby within 6 month (of birth) authorities will name it for you. They usually pick something from the current 20-top list.

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