Boys, Girls

Are there illegal baby names? Surprising monikers that are BANNED in other countries, from Sarah to Liam

PRINCE William and Kate Middleton may have thought the names George and Charlotte were fit for royalty, but authorities in Portugal don’t agree.

The traditional British names are both on the banned list in this country, but are there any similar laws in Britain? Here’s all you need to know about banned names.

George, Charlotte, Catherine and William are ALL banned names in Portugal

Are there illegal baby names?

Different countries have different rules when it comes to what you can call your baby.

Some countries have explicitly banned a handful of names, like Adolph Hitler and Osama bin Laden, which are both illegal names in Germany.

Other countries have rules banning special characters, like @, from baby names, or only accept names in the national language.

Meanwhile, some countries, like Iceland, only accept names chosen from a pre-agreed list which is issued by the government.

Are there any illegal names in the UK?

Britain doesn’t have any hard and fast laws about banned names, with authorities only stepping in when parents are thinking of choosing an offensive baby name.

But in almost all cases, so long as the name isn’t fraudulent, you can call your baby whatever you want.

The very few banned names in the UK include Martian, Monkey and Akuma, meaning devil, according to MomJunction.

What names are banned in other countries?

By where do other countries stand on certain names?


  • William
  • Catherine (but Caterina is allowed)
  • George
  • Charlotte
  • Thomas or Tom
  • Emily
  • Michael
The name Tomas is allowed in Portugal, but Thomas and Tom aren’t


. There are around 7,000 approved baby names on the list, and you have to seek permission if you want to choose a different moniker.

More than 1,000 names are reviewed every year, and almost a fifth are rejected – usually because of their unusual spellings.

Name suggestions like Jakobp and Ashleiy have been banned in the past.


These names aren’t on the official list, but parents can put in a request to get them added to the register…

And Sarah isn’t on the approved list in Iceland – but parents can apply to get it added


Hungary also insists on native spellings for certain names. So, while Stefán is approved, one of Britain’s favourites names wouldn’t be allowed…


Germany’s naming laws are among the strictest in the world, with names needing approval from local authorities before they can be chosen.

Names should indicate the baby’s gender, with gender-neutral names needing a second name added on to make it clear if the baby is a boy or a girl.

The name parents choose should also not be silly, and not be chosen based on a product or object.

  • Matti
  • Adolph Hiter
  • Osama bin Laden


Laws around baby names depend on the state you’re in, with some, like Kentucky, having no rules at all.

Other places, like California, ban names which don’t use the English alphabet, meaning 1000 is banned as a name but One Thousand isn’t.

The few names banned in America tend to be titles, like:

  • Duke
  • Judge
  • King
  • Master
  • Queen
  • Majesty


Oz has a handful of rules, including laws banning names which are obscene or unpleasant.

Really long names are also not allowed, as are names which are slang terms for genitalia.

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Saudi Arabia

In 2014, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry introduced a list of 51 banned names which aren’t in line with the country’s social traditions.

Most of the names on the banned list had religious connotations, but foreign-sounding options were also prohibited.


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