What's In a Name: Judge Blocks Parents' Choice

As parents become more creative with baby names, some question their choices.

ByABC News via logo
June 23, 2007, 12:59 PM

June 23, 2007 — -- Actress Gwyneth Paltrow named her baby after a fruit, Apple. Comedian Penn Jillette chose Moxie Crimefighter for his spunky daughter.

And while unusual names may be a Hollywood staple, some believe it may cross the line in the real world.

One New Zealand judge even blocked one family from using the name it chose. The judge said the name was unfair to the child.

"Initially, the reaction is, 'Are you for real?'" said Pat Wheaton, the New Zealand father who was blocked from naming his son 4Real.

Wheaton said the idea for the name came when the couple saw the first scan of the child.

"We started thinking 'Jeez, he is for real?'" Wheaton said.

The couple's idea came naturally, but many parents are feeling the pressure to be different.

Baby naming is big business today. Some parents are turning to professional consultants, computer programs, polls and even numerologists to achieve the perfect moniker for their bundle of joy.

"Parents think that if they give their child a unique and special name, the child will become unique and special," said Bruce Lansky, author of "100,000 Baby Names."

Nevaeh, which heaven spelled backwards, has become one of the world's most popular names. But others don't always pass the societal test.

Two boys, one in Michigan and the other in Texas, bear the name ESPN. They were named after the sports network.

In some countries, names are illegal -- like Adolf Hitler and Osama Bin Laden in Germany.

And French parents must choose from an approved list. The laws are designed to prevent teasing.

In America, almost anything goes.

"You can't use a four letter word that I wouldn't use in this interview anyway, and other than that you're free to do what you want," said New York University Sociology Department Chairman Dalton Conley. "That's part of the first amendment right to free speech here in America."

Only as the children grow up will people learn if these interesting names will be the source of ridicule.