May 3, 752: People Used to Have Goofy Names- They Still Do!

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A Brief History

On May 3, 752, the Mayan King Bird Jaguar IV began his reign.  Not only do we not know what the heck a bird jaguar is, but there were three of them before this one!  On April 23 we told you people used to have goofy names.  Well, they still do, coming up with new ones all the time.  Here are 10 of our favorites from more modern times.  (Honorable mention: Yahoo Seriously.)

Digging Deeper

10. Elton John.

A name he made up for himself, Elton was born Reginald Dwight. Known for a time as The King, successor to Elvis Presley on top of the music world. As with many of the others on this list, the mention of his first name unmistakably leads you to him.

9. Oprah Winfrey.

A name so distinct hundreds of millions (at least) world wide know exactly who she is just by her first name. Possibly the only African-American billionaire, Oprah is known as The Queen of All Media and is capable of delivering a million votes just by her endorsement.

8. Whoopi Goldberg.

Of course entertainers change their name to something more, well, entertaining, but we think Whoopi is more entertaining than most. She was born Caryn Johnson.

7. Suri Cruise.

The daughter of movie stars Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, I would bet you did not know many Suri’s before she surfaced.

6. Stanley Dunham.

Not at all a cracked name until you consider this is the name of President Obama’s mother. (Yes, we mentioned it on a different list on May 1st.) If her parents were so stuck on the name, Stanely, why did they not just give it to her as a middle name? Probably so CrackedHistory would have something to do!

5. Keanu Reeves.

The actor that played Neo in The Matrix and starred in classics like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure and Speed, did not make up this name for a Hollywood career. Born in Lebanon, raised in Toronto, and boasting a rich ethnic background that includes European, Asian and Hawaiian ancestry. With a background like that, Reeves deserved a name out of the ordinary.

4. Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.

It is hard to stand out in the NBA with such a rich variety of cracked names, but we think Anfernee takes the top prize. For that matter, how many men are known as Penny? (Sorry Lebron, Kobe, Shaquille and Metta World Peace, Mr. Hardaway wins this one.)

3. Elvis Presley.

Given a name so distinctive that the King of Rock and Roll could go through life known only by his first name, Elvis’s parents were ahead of the times back in 1935 when they named little Elvis. Besides, what else rhymes with pelvis?

2. Kal-el Cage.

Actor Nicholas Cage dived into DC Comics for this one, the birth name of Superman back on planet Krypton.

1. Moon Unit and Dweezil Zappa.

The children of the late great Frank Zappa, their parents obviously did not want them confused with other kids when they were growing up. They were not confused with anyone else.

Question for students (and subscribers): Which ones would you add to the list?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

David, Daniel.  The Complete Book of Unusual Names: When You Don’t Want to Sound the Same, Look Here for Names Beyond Joe, Jim and Jane.  Sourcebooks, 2003.


About Author

Major Dan is a retired veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He served during the Cold War and has traveled to many countries around the world. Prior to his military service, he graduated from Cleveland State University, having majored in sociology. Following his military service, he worked as a police officer eventually earning the rank of captain prior to his retirement.