The Dingo's Got My Baby Name!

Filed under: Baby Names

After much debate, my husband and I finally found a female name we agree on: Azariah (or Azaria). I like that it is a Hebrew name like my daughter Ariella's and about the same popularity ranking. Most of our friends' children have biblical names as well, so I think she'll fit in fine with them.

However, I put a poll online and got a lot of comments that I shouldn't name my baby that because the baby who was killed by a dingo was named Azaria. Do you think it matters? Will people always mention the connection to her/us or will they just accept her name once they know her?

- Would-be Azaria mom


You found the one and only name of your dreams, then polled the global, anonymous internet for opinions on it? That takes a thick skin. But I presume that you did it for a reason...and I presume that the reason was to see how the name plays to people whose perspectives are different from your own. So now that you have those perspectives, what do you do with them?

First, some background for readers who think "Dingoes Ate My Baby" was just a rock band from "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Back in 1980, an infant named Azaria Chamberlain disappeared in the Australian outback. Her parents claimed she was taken by a dingo -- a wild dog -- but authorities initially blamed the parents themselves. Years of media frenzy ensued, so that the name Azaria still means "dingo baby" to most Australians, and a lot of U.K. folks as well.

In the USA, though, the Chamberlain story never reached that fever pitch. To most Americans today, Azaria is a fashionable, mildly exotic name with a biblical spin. (Azariah is actually a male name in the bible, pronounced ah-zah-RYE-uh, but who's counting?)

The question is, which audience are you naming toward? Are you happy knowing that your baby's immediate circle will like her name, or are you looking to position her for a globe-trotting future? In the case of Azaria, you might be able to wiggle out of this place-based dilemma with a helping hand from time. It's been 29 years since Azaria Chamberlain vanished, and it will be 20 more before your Azaria will be grown and ready to take on the world. If you love the name, it's a fair gamble that the dingo case will have faded from global memory by then.

Have you grappled with a name in the news? Share your experiences!
And if you have a question to Ask the Name Lady, drop her a line.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.