32 Irish Names You Can’t Pronounce Without Peeking

Seamus is a fairly esoteric Irish name. It’s also a term Garrison Keillor uses in his Guy Noir radio stories to refer to a private eye. if you’ve ever listened to “Guy Noir” on NPR, you know how to pronounce Seamus.

Ever hear of an Irish singer named  Sinead O’Connor? Her  arrangement of a song (written by the artist formerly known as Prince) called “Nothing Compares 2 You” became a world-wide hit in the ’80s. 

After Sinead came Siobhan Donaghy, an English singer (of Irish descent) who was a founding member of the Sugababes–a girl band whose breakout hit in the year 2000 was “Overload.” 

If you don’t follow pop music closely, you’ll probably have no idea how to pronounce the names of those two Irish singers–or any of the other names on the list of Irish names below.

If you don’t believe me, try to pronounce the ten names listed below without peeking at the pronunciation guide (which you’ll have to scroll down to see). Don’t scroll down before you’ve tried to pronounce the next ten names.

Bet You Can’t Pronounce These Irish Girls’ Names Without Peeking






Bet You Can’t Pronounce These Irish Boys’ Names Without Peeking 






Now that you know even musicologists can’t pronounce the ten Irish names you’ve just slaughtered, take a look at the other 24 names to see if there are any you could have pronounced correctly. With that information in mind, print out this list, fold it up, and stick it in your pocket. Whenever you need a dollar or a fiver to buy a newspaper or a bottle of beer, bet any friend who brags of being Irish that he can’t pronounce a single one out of five or ten or fifteen or twenty Irish names correctly. It’s like stealing a green party hat from a drunk Irishman
on St. Patrick’s Day.

Hard-to-Pronounce Irish Girls’ Names (With Pronunciation)

Ailbhe: AL-va
Aine: ON-ya
Aislidh: ASH-lee
Aoife: EE-feh
Caoimhe: KEE-va or KWEE-va
Caitlin: CAT-leen or CATH-leen
Caitriona: kah-TREE-na
Ciara: KEE-ar-a or KEE-ra
Clodagh: CLOH-da
Daire: DAR-a
Eibhilin: ay-LEEN
Maire: MAIR-y
Mairghread,  Mairaid: mar-AID
Niamh: NEE-av or NEEV.
Oisin: UH-sheen
Orlaith: OR-lae or OR-la
Róisín: raw-SHEEN
Rionagh: RAY-na
Saorise:  SEER-sha or SAIR-sha
Sinéad: shin-ADE
Siobahn: sha-VAWN

Hart to Pronounce Irish Boys’ Names (With Pronunciation)

Aoibhinn, Aoibheann: EE-van
Aodhan, Aoden: AY-den, AY-dan
Cian: KEE-an or KEEN
Cillian: KIL-ee-an.
Conchobhar: CON-er
Darragh: DAR-a
Diarmuid: DER-mit
Eoghan, Eoin,: OH-wen
Oisin:  UH-sheen
Ruairi: ROAR-y
Tadhg: TIGE

When I read Zooey Deschanel named her baby girl Elsie Otter, I laughed.

I haven’t written about silly celebrity baby names in a while. I was worried about sounding like a celebrity scold, because so many celebrities have chosen names likely to call attention to their children—and the attention those names receive is not necessarily positive. But when I noticed an article on Huffington Post about the name Zooey Deschanel and hubby Jacob Pechenik selected for their baby girl (Elsie Otter), I couldn’t resist commenting.

Elsie the cow has been among the most recognizable advertising cartoon-characters in the United States and Canada since 1936, when it was first used by Borden dairy products and then used by Eagle dairy products. To give you an idea about just how bovine (and unattactive) the name Elsie is, her cartoon mate was Elmer the Bull. Their children were named Beulah and Beauregard, followed by twins, Larabee and Lobelia. Although cartooon cows are unlikely to complain about those names, kids are likely to moo when their “cow names” are called.

I usually advise parents to select a middle name that will provide a realistic option for a child stuck with a first name he or she doesn’t like. (Celebrity children with names like Dweezil or Apple have been known to spend years praying for a “normal” middle name.) But Elsie’s parents selected Otter—perhaps thinking if she didn’t want to be perceived as a dumb cow, a weasel-like critter might be appreciated. Unfortunately, the  middle name they chose is likely to remind people of Eric “Otter” Stratton, the unscrupulous rush chairman for Delta House (fraternity) in the movie “Animal House” (played unctuously by Tim Matheson) who gave otters a bad name.

If Zooey and Jacob’s objective was to call attention to their daughter, they succeeded. Unfortunately for their baby girl.

But wait! There may be some readers who like silly names like Elsie Otter. If so, you might appreciate a quick lesson in making up similar names for your stand-up comedy routine or your sit com.

  1. Start with an old-fashioned cartoon name, like Barney (Rubble) or Homer Simpson  or Ronald (MacDonald)
  2. Add a totally unrelated animal name like baboon or hound dog or rhinoceros
  3. And voila! You have a new protagonist for your comic strip or humorous children’s book: Barney Baboon; Homer Hound Dog; and Ronald Rhinoceros.

Drew Magary Claims that American Baby Names Are Getting Even Worse


Here’s a small sample of names Drew Magary found in a recent issue of Parents magazine. Readers were asked what they would name their next baby boy or girl. Here are just a few of the names Drew Magary went off on.

First, some boys’ names: 

Jaydien That’s right. Jaydien. Don’t forget that I. That I is what sets young Jaydien apart from the mere Jaydens of the world. Now don’t you people who named your kid Jayden feel behind the times? You bought the beta version of that name. It’s like buying an iPad too early. Six years from now, the name will have morphed into Jayydizzosoian, and then you’ll really feel like a sucker.

Tulsa If you’re gonna name your kid after a place, at least have the common courtesy to name him after a legitimate tourist destination. No one wants to hang out with a kid named Tulsa, or a kid named Kalamazoo. Ol’ Kal. Always gettin’ in trouble.

Zaiden Of course Zaiden is here. It takes Jayden and throws a Z in front, which makes it SO STRONG. God, I just wanna slap a loincloth on little Zaiden and club dragons with him. Be on the lookout for Drayden, Fayden, Waiden, Strayden, and Klayden coming to your hood.

Zebulon Classic hillbilly, with the bonus of sounding like a cartoon alien planet.

Then some girls’ names:

Annyston Joined by brother Schwymmir

Brook’Lynn The abuse of apostrophes in names has to end. A reasonable person should be able to know, by looking at a name, when one syllable ends and another begins. But no, [some people] all over the country have to be like “I’ll name him Raw’Bert.” You stop that. Give me some credit for being able to read even if you can’t.

• Luxx Why not add that third x and fulfill her destiny? That’s what you want, right? You want little Luxx to grow up, move to the Valley and earn $60 a week getting jet spraykakke’d for a series of Brazzers short films, yes? There’s no other reason to name your child Luxx.

Sharpay This is a character from High School Musical. It’s also a breed of dog. Why stop there? Name your child Dobyrman.

And his close:

There are so many more horrible names on the list: Tayzia, Xylethia, Kayson, Mayson, Kayleen—it goes on and on and on. I wish I could tell you there’s an end to this, that writing your local Congressman to draft laws preventing this kind of child abuse from happening would do the trick. But I can’t. It won’t. Our fate is sealed, not unlike that of poor Luxx. Luxxx. Luxxxx’Ann. God help us all.

Click on the link, above, and read the whole article on Deadspin. It’s seriously funny; read it all.

Gabriel (“Suits”) Macht and Wife Jacinda Barrett Have a Baby Boy Named Luca

I’ve never met any of the celebrities whose baby names I written about. Some are a complete mystery to me. The only thing I know about them is the name he or she gave a recent baby. But that’s not the case with Gabriel Macht. I’ve watched “Suits” many times and like his portrayal of a tough, slick, aggressive lawyer who doesn’t necessarily play by the rules.

Obviously actors aren’t the characters they play. But still one wonders. The slick lawyer Gabriel Macht plays is named Harvey, a name that would be perfect for an imaginary white rabbit or a mama’s boy– but isn’t a good fit for the rule-breaking lawyer. His sidekick is a bright junior lawyer with a photographic memory who claims he went to Harvard Law School, but didn’t. His name is Mike. That’s another name that doesn’t fit a leading character in “Suits.”

So what’s up with Luca and Luca’s big sister Saltine? (That’s what I thought her name was the first time I read about it in People Magazine. I blinked my eyes and re-read the name; it was Satine.) If you’re curious, Satine is a variation of Satin, a name (and a fabric) with a French origin that can be described as smooth and shiny. Hmmm, slick—like the character Macht plays on “Suits.”

Now that we’ve solved that mystery let’s take a look at Luca—an Italian version of Luke. I’ll bet the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear that name is an Italian mobster who knows how to make offers people can’t refuse. The words “tough” and “aggressive” would fit that image of Luca well.

So even though Gabriel Macht is not Harvey Specter, the tough, slick aggressive lawyer Macht plays on “Suits,” the names he has given his children are more suitable for roles on “Suits” than the names of the TV show’s two main characters: Harvey and Mike. (Too bad the producer didn’t call me for a consult.)

Megan Fox Picked a Name for Her Son, Bodhi, That I’ve Already Misspelled Twice

Bodhisatttva is a Sanskrit term for a person who has chosen the path of “awakening” or “enlightenment.” Bodhi means “enlightened” or “awakened” and sattva means “being.” So it would seem as though actress Megan (“Transformers”) Fox and her husband Brian (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) Austin Green have picked an “enlightened” first name for their second son Bodhi.

However it isn’t enlightened to pick a name for your child which you know will be misspelled by 90% of the North American population after hearing the name spoken. Bodie Miller, the Olympic skier who has won 6 Olympic medals, is probably the only Bodie that most people have ever heard of. And as far as I know he has no “h” in his name.

Buddhists, on the other hand are not likely to misspell the name Bodhi, but they comprise only a small percent of the North American population. Not being a Buddhist, I didn’t spell it correctly once while writing the title and first paragraph of this article. (No kidding, I spelled it Bohdi twice and Bhodi once; neither of which are correct. I also misspelled the Sanskrit word that means enlightened being like this: Bohdisattva.)

In addition, Buddhists are likely to be concerned about the name or word that follows Bodhi in the name Fox and Green gave their son: Bodhi Ransom. You already know what Bodhi means. I suspect you also know what Ransom means. It is most commonly defined as “a price you must pay for the return of a person or property which has been lost or stolen.” So Bodhi Ransom would seem to refer to an enlightened memory loss, theft, hijacking or kidnapping. What kind of name is that to give to your son? I guess Fox and Green didn’t consider that someone might put their son’s two names together and say “What the heck is that supposed to mean?”

As much as I like the idea of an enlightened being, putting Bodhi together with Ransom is like putting something good together with something bad and since the good thing is also likely to be misspelled by most people (who don’t know that Bodhi is also a very chic and pricey brand of lady’s handbags and accessories) I think the name Bodhi Ransom has bad kharma (a word I also misspell from time to time because of that darned “h”).

As you can see, Bhodi Ransom is not a name I can recommend with any enthusiasm. However, I should probably mention that Brian Austin Green’s first son (with a different wife) was named Kassius. I have already misspelled that name three different ways while trying to write it correctly in this paragraph, so I can’t recommend that name in good conscience, either.

Why would a woman named Megan Denise Fox and a man named Brian Austin Green, both of whom have experienced the pleasure of having names that are easy to spell and pronounce, pick names that nine out of ten people will spell incorrectly after hearing the names spoken. Those are not the kind of names I’d suggest giving to children you love.

Although The Baby Name Police didn’t warn Green about Kassius, we are giving Fox and Green a ticket for the name Bodhi Ransom. As documented above, the name creates needless spelling problems and is confusing.

What Kingsley Would Tell his Wife If She Wanted To Name Their Baby Girl Beauquisha Sharice (NSFW)

Baby Name Police_imageI’m writing to announce the appointment of a comic named Kingsley, who wears a faux rabbit-fur aviator hat, as the newest member of the Baby Name Police.  He scolds people who would pick names like Beauquisha Sharice or Acsh’lye or Dashaquitra and uses language I don’t use, because I’m afraid my mother might wash my mouth out with soap.

At a time when baby-naming standards are going downhill thanks to a recent spate of weird names from Soleil Moon Frye and Gwen Stefani and weird recommendations from Nameberry, I’ve decided to expand the Baby Name Police by naming Kingsley to the force.

Though Kingsley was disappointed with the pay, he was happy to learn that a faux rabbit fur aviator hat is the official winter headgear for the force. In a secret ceremony, I taught him the secret handshake and warned him never to use it in public. I’ve asked my mother to review the Baby Name Police etiquette manual with Kingsley so the force doesn’t receive any more bad publicity for “snarky comments.” Unfortunately, I’m not a very good role model in that respect.

To listen to Kingsley’s rant, just click the play arrow.

Jason (“Orange Is the New Black”) Biggs and Jenny Mollen Name Their Well-Endowed Son Sid

I don’t think you’ll be shocked by the language Jason Biggs and his wife Jenny Mollen used in the Instagram they sent out to announce the birth of their baby boy Sid, which was included verbatim in the article that appears in the current issue of People. But that’s why the article was more amusing than the usual birth-announcement article.

Actually, it was Mollen who mentioned Sid’s “huge penis,” (something that’s quite common for newborn boys) and her appreciation for dilaudid (a pain reliever). Perhaps TMI runs in the family, because in a July interview on “Chelsea Lately,” Biggs had described Mollen’s “big breasts” and taken credit by informing viewers that he had “put a baby in her.”

From a baby-naming standpoint, the main reason I’m writing this article is to mention that Sydney (a place name) is typically used for girls, which is why Biggs and Mollen picked the name Sid (not Sidney) for their son. Now that you’ve taken in this valuable insight permit me to suggest you click on the People article because it comes with some beautiful photos of Mollen and Sidney taken at the hospital. How Mollen managed to look so attractive right after giving birth, I have no idea.

Having shared some of the candid language used by the happy couple I should probably make this disclosure (at the risk of disappointing 99% of my readers): none of the candid photos published in People documented either the size of Sid’s penis or Mollen’s breasts.