If you have a name in mind, first check to see if that name doesn’t have an odd meaning in another language. For example, the internationally known name ‘Cerdo’ means ‘pig’ in Spanish. You wouldn’t want your child
to be teased when he’s in a Spanish speaking country, would you?
During the 1994 World Cup Finals in the US, the Dutch soccer team had a famous coach: Dick Advocaat.
For the Dutch, ‘Dick’ is a normal name, but in our American-English language ‘Dick’ means several things. ‘Dick’ can be used for different terms of abuse. For example, the word ‘Dick’ means the male genital organ. Despite his name, his funny-looking appearance (the coach is short and bald) and his personality (he’s very short-tempered), Dick Advocaat reached the quarterfinals with his team. These took place in Dallas, where the Dutch were defeated by the eventual champions, Brazil. The young American crowd in the stadium was very amused when coach ‘Dick’ was introduced by the stadium announcer!
As soon as you have a name in mind, check its meaning in other countries. You can do this,
for instance, by typing in the name in online dictionaries for various languages. Try to avoid
picking a name that has an awkward meaning in another country, and thus could cause problems for your child while traveling or at work.
“For our work, we’re often in Asia. We also have a thing for Japan; we’ve lived there several years.
During that time, I got pregnant and we were thinking about naming our baby girl ‘Muet’. We thought
that was a beautiful name and had kind of an Asian ring to it, too. But when we found out that word
means ‘stupid’ in French we decided to go for ‘Kim’.”
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