Jaxon, Felix, Chloe and Lola are among the UK’s “most Marmite” baby names – which are either loved or hated by parents.
A study found that two-thirds of parents say they shortlisted a divisive name which provoked extreme positive or negative reactions from friends and family. Almost half said they have faced rude comments over their choice of baby names.
Despite being the UK’s 36th most popular girls name, Chloe is considered to be the most controversial choice for girls. Parents were split between describing it as “sophisticated and upmarket” after the high-end fashion brand or “downmarket and too Essex” as it is shared by reality TV favourites such as TOWIE’s Chloe Simms and Chloe Meadows.
Lola was ranked second for girls, viewed either as “pretty and feminine” or “a lap-dancer’s name”, alongside Stella, which was seen as either “stylish and unusual” or “trying too hard to be different”.
Other girls’ names that split opinion include Agnes, seen as “cool and trendy” or “ugly”, as well as Scarlett, which some claimed was “strong and elegant” but others viewing it as “tacky and dated”.
For boys, Jaxon or Jaxxon, ranked at 46th, divided parents the most. Fans backed it as “sharp and contemporary” while detractors mocked it as “not spelled properly”.
More than a quarter of parents loathed Harrison and Mackenzie for “using a surname as a first name”, while also disliked for boys was Felix, with some mothers claiming it reminded them of the cat food. Other disputed male names include Leonard, seen either as “unusual and classic” or “taking the old-fashioned names trend too far”.
Perhaps surprisingly, Henry, the 13th most popular boys’ name in the UK, was also considered a divisive choice. Some parents described it as “too posh” or “better suited to a Labrador dog”.
The most common source of name criticism was mothers-in-law, with 40 per cent of parents facing nasty comments over their name choice. One in five had their name picked apart by work colleagues while 15 per cent even suffered comments from strangers.
Despite facing criticism of their name choices, 94 per cent of the 2,000 parents polled went on to use the name they loved.
SJ Strumm, a “baby names expert” for ChannelMum.com, said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a name which delights one person won’t work for another.
“The days of having a few safe – and dull – baby names to choose from are long gone. There are over 60,000 baby names in use in the UK and this number is ballooning year-on-year as parents seek unique monikers, so it’s likely even more names will be added to the Marmite list.”
He added: “But the best name rule is if you love it, go for it, but do check that the child’s full name initials don’t spell something silly and, of course, make sure it won’t open up your child to ridicule.”