A judge has saved one lucky French infant from a lifetime of jokes after ruling that her parents cannot name her “Nutella.”
Although the chocolate-hazelnut spread is undeniably popular, the judge said it’s “contrary to the child's interest to have a name that can only lead to teasing or disparaging thoughts," and chose the shorter, more reasonable (less nutty?) “Ella” instead.
“Nutella” likely would’ve gotten a thumbs-down in many other countries with strict naming laws and regulations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Germany, and Denmark.
That said, those places can be pretty inconsistent. Kiwi judges have rejected names like Messiah, Princess, Lucifer, and Anal, but accepted “Number 16 Bus Shelter”, and allowed a set of twins to be named Benson and Hedges.
In 2002, German officials blocked a couple from naming their baby boy Osama bin Laden, although it has okayed names like Legolas and Nemo.
So it’s hard to say whether “Nutella” would get the okay in some countries.
However, that name would likely fly in most parts of Canada, which doesn’t have any uniform national laws on names.
Quebec has the strictest laws. Given names are approved by a provincial registrar, who can demand explanations for names and reject: “an odd compound surname or given name that clearly invites ridicule or may discredit the child.”
In the past, it’s rejected names like Goldorak, Boom-Boom, and Lucifer.
In 2009, that registrar challenged a couple who wanted their son’s middle name to be “Avalanche” (the baby already had a brother named Brant Glacier). And in 1996, it rejected the name “Spatule” — a French word for a type of bird but also for “spatula.”
In 1997, the agency lost a court case launched by a couple that wanted to name their child “C’est-un-ange” (It’s an angel).
For the most part, Canadian parents can give their child any outlandish name they want. But if you want to show off how clever or unique you are, why not change your own name to Lucifer or Boom-Boom and spare the poor kid?