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Baby kneeling, packing the suitcaseKylie is pregnant with her second child, and doesn’t yet know the sex, so she is making name lists for both boys and girls.

She would love to add Azaria to her girls’ list, but isn’t quite sure. She wonders if it is still too soon to use the name Azaria, because of Azaria Chamberlain, and worries that she would be condemning her daughter to a lifetime of dingo jokes.

Kylie also likes the names Gaia and Juniper, but not nearly as much as Azaria.

The full name would be Azaria Lucienne, and the nickname would be Azra. Kylie isn’t interested in giving the name an unusual spelling in order to make it seem different to the original.

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Kylie, this is a very interesting question, because it touches on that sensitive issue of whether some names are too controversial, or have too much baggage to be usable.

Nearly all of us feel that that there are least some names that should be “off limits”, and many people can get quite worked up at the thought of such names being given to a child. The trouble is that we don’t all agree on what these “off limits” names are!

There’s no right or wrong answer to this one, because different people are going to have different opinions. That’s really all I can give you – an opinion.

It is more than a generation since Azaria Chamberlain died, and last year the long drawn-out legal case finally came to an end. I tend to feel that by now, enough time has gone by and enough closure has been gained that we should be ready to move on. There must be a few people who agree with this, because some parents have already chosen this pretty name for their daughters in recent years.

I don’t think someone named Azaria would have a lifetime of dingo jokes ahead of her. For one thing, I haven’t actually heard a dingo joke since the 1990s. For another, the children being born now, your child’s peers, won’t know about Azaria Chamberlain, and when (or if) they learn of it, they won’t find it funny at all.

And while I can easily believe there are adults moronic enough to find a dingo joke funny, I have trouble imagining one so utterly bereft of brain cells that they would find it amusing to repeat it to a little girl named Azaria, or her parents.

I do think some older people might find the name Azaria a bit confronting at first, but I also think that if they actually knew a child called Azaria, they would soon stop associating the name with the Chamberlain case, and associate it with the child they know.

However, it doesn’t really matter what I think. What’s important is what you think. Do you feel that enough time has gone by? Do you feel comfortable using the name Azaria? And how does your partner feel about it?

Being practical, you don’t even know if you’re having a girl yet, and are just making lists of names that you like. You love the name Azaria, and it fits beautifully with the middle name you have chosen. I would leave it on the list at least until you know the sex of the baby. Give yourself more time to think this over before you decide.

NAME UPDATE: The baby was a boy, and his name is Kaelan!

POLL RESULTS
78% of people were generally okay with the idea of a baby named Azaria. 39% thought that it would be a little strange at first, but that people would soon get used to the idea, while another 39% couldn’t see anything wrong with it at all.

22% people weren’t in favour. 11% thought the name wasn’t usable yet, but might be in another 25 years, while 3% thought that just another 5 years could make all the difference to the name’s fortunes. A pessimistic 3% didn’t think the name could ever be used again, while 5% just weren’t sure whether it was a good idea or not.

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