Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

The Dingo's Got My Baby Name!

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.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

July 27, 2009 4:57 PM
By Senalishia (not verified)

I absolutely agree. There is ALWAYS going to be something objectionable associated with the name you choose. The question is, how deep do most folks have to dig in their memories to find it. In this case, I think you're in the clear.

April 10, 2010 4:48 AM
By CocoProvence (not verified)

I'm Australian and I could not call a daughter Azaria because of the dingo link, but I wish I could, because it's a beautiful name! (In the same way I love Sydney for a boy or Sidney for a girl, but couldn't call anyone that, or even Adelaide for a girl - another state capital) I digress...

I think living in another country means it'll be fine, and as Name Lady points out, in another 20 years many less people will know and remember what happened. I say, go for it!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.