Ask the Name Lady

Ask Now

Is My Favorite Baby Name Really Off-Limits?

My last name is Ritz. My husband and I really like the name London but every time I make a name poll, everyone scoffs at the combination because they say it sounds like a hotel. Would this be something you really think she would be teased about in life, and would it be so bad? - Mrs. Ritz

With the surname Ritz, you have a lot to be thankful for. Your name is short and easy to spell and pronounce. It's flexible to match with many name styles. It has positive associations. The many families with names like Crumpacker, Slutz and Pincock dream of being in your shoes. But the one thing you can't go puttin' on the Ritz is a place name.

Tough love time: everyone says London Ritz sounds like a hotel because it is a hotel. (Their afternoon tea is legendary.) I'm sorry. I know you've come to me hoping that my expert opinion will override those nameless poll respondents. No matter what I say, though, they're giving you a realistic preview of how the world would greet a little London Ritz.

Yes, dear readers, I do hear you yelling "But what about Paris Hilton? Isn't that the same thing?" It is, but sadly Ms. Hilton only makes matters worse for this name. It's all too easy to picture a female impersonator doing a Paris sendup under the stage name London Ritz.

Mrs. Ritz, your snappy little surname will be a great match for many other names with a sound and feeling similar to London. (Try Linden, Alden and Logan for a start.) Name teasing may not be the end of the world, but why invite it if you don't have to?


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

September 27, 2010 12:22 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

London is a place, not a name, and the surname Ritz makes it even more ridiculous.

September 27, 2010 1:17 PM
By kiki (not verified)

Have you considered hyphenating your future daughter's last name with your maiden name? London Ritz sounds hotel-y but London Manelli-Ritz or London Peters-Ritz etc. *might* be a little more doable. Or perhaps you could use London as a middle name. Elizabeth London Ritz, called London could always fall back on Elizabeth (or whatever name you pick) if the hotel thing became too much of a burden. Plus in public (school rosters, doctor's office, etc.) no one would know so you wouldn't have to put up with snide comments from random people. They would all call her Elizabeth Ritz unless you or she corrected them.

September 27, 2010 1:57 PM
By Kayt (not verified)

Thank you, NL. I've always thought Paris Hilton was a ridiculous name long before she became a ridiculous person. And London Ritz is just as bad, I'm sorry. You might want to use it in the middle, but you can't can't can't use it in the first name spot.

September 28, 2010 4:34 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Yes, bad female impersonator bad. It's like someone naming their daughter Chardonnay Grape or something. What about Louden (b) or Logan (g)?

September 28, 2010 12:37 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I agree with the NL on almost everything in the article, but... This is a girl, right? I'm confused by the alternative options of Linden, Alden and Logan? Linden might be alright, but Alden or Logan as girl names? Maybe this was an oversight??

September 28, 2010 12:38 PM
By Annee (not verified)

Well, it's not even that poor little London will get teased. Harsh as it sounds, many folks will think London's parents are idiots -- sorry! And the difference with Paris Hilton is that he family OWNS the hotels and they're filthy rich, so they can be eccentric with their naming habits.

September 28, 2010 12:42 PM
By jenna (not verified)

ouch, Anonymous, take it easy. My daughter's name is willow, which is a tree, not a name, but I think it is a beautiful name! its 2010, you can name your child anything you want, and, while I don't necessarily agree with a lot of the crazy names out there, I don't think London is that bad of a name. London Ritz might not be the best combination in the world, but I say if you like the name, go for it! And Kiki had a good suggestion about the hyphen. Its your baby, if you like that name, use it.

September 28, 2010 12:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Our dear columnist is steering you right. I know you love the name London, but it can't be used with Ritz. Period. You have to move on. Though I especially like the one commenter's suggestion of Louden - I love that name! But yes, London Ritz would be terrible, your child will be teased and the name guffawed at throughout life and people will think ill of you for saddling the child with that handle. I wouldn't even use it with hyphenate, though it's a nice suggestion. Keep on keeping on - you'll find a name that you love!!

September 28, 2010 12:53 PM
By Allison Margaret (not verified)

I agree with the Name Lady on this one. If you love the name London, use it as a middle name for your daughter. It flows nicely with Ritz, but the hotel association is just too much for a first name.

September 28, 2010 1:09 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I hate to be contrary, but London is the *name* of a place. Just like any other name, it can be used for more than one thing. Would you say that Austin, Cheyenne, Brittany, or Carolina aren't names? How about Chelsea, Florence, Georgia, Virginia, or Trenton? Then there's Jordan, Madison, Savannah, Sierra, Sydney, Valencia... The list goes on.
Many names have meanings outside of the person they represent, and that makes the name even more special. Just because London may not be commonly used (and it is becoming more common all the time), doesn't mean it is not a name.

September 28, 2010 1:13 PM
By Ms. Albert (not verified)

I'm afraid I must agree that it would be unwise to name her London Ritz. As unfair as it may be, last names do put restrictions on the names you can give your child. Our last name is Albert. That means no matter how much we may want to, there will never be little Alberts or Albertas in our family.

September 28, 2010 1:14 PM
By DreamingAloud (not verified)

I have to agree - places should be named after people (like, all the places in the world called Victoria, after the Queen) not the other way around.

I'm also struggling to think of a pleasant short name for London. Lon? Lonny? Don? They all sound like unappealing boys' names to me.

September 28, 2010 1:16 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Why not use London as a middle name?

September 28, 2010 1:30 PM
By Kate (not verified)

Even without the surname 'Ritz' (a perfectly good surname in itself) 'London' is a silly name for a human being. It's a city, for heaven's sake! Every single person on the planet knows it is a city.
A very confident boy, or man might get away with being called London, but for a girl??!! Please think again.

September 28, 2010 2:07 PM
By nichole (not verified)

I think London is a nice name, and if you had a non-hotel chain last name, I'd definitely encourage you to go for it.

But, really, it's not a good idea. There's the Paris Hilton association and all the Paris Hilton jokes that would be translated to London Ritz re: "I heard it's really easy to get into the London Ritz," etc.
Life is hard enough for a teenage girl without a name inviting jokes.

September 28, 2010 2:48 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I would also avoid names like Cheese that might make one think of crackers.

September 28, 2010 2:56 PM
By Joni (not verified)

London IS a place name, but there are many PLACES that were named after PEOPLE. If you want to get techical about it, some people think that London too is based on a PERSON's name. "London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who called it Londinium." ( and "A common theory is that it derives from a hypothetical Celtic placename, Londinion[4] which was probably derived from the personal name Londinos, from the word lond, meaning 'wild'." (

Of course London doesn't work for this family, but it's not a ridiculous name - even if YOU don't like it.

September 28, 2010 2:57 PM
By Shelly (not verified)

The issue of the awful pairing with the last name aside - Have you or your husband even been to London? I don't understand the burning desire to name a kid after a random city. Instead, please give your child a name that readily identifies his/her sex and doesn't sound ridiculous when preceded by "Dr." or "Senator."

September 28, 2010 3:24 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I actually kind of like London, and many place names are common names, as noted above. But it's too much together with Ritz. How about Larkin? (Or Larken?) Good for a boy or a girl, though she said she was worried "she (a daughter) would be teased..." We love the name Larkin and might have chosen it for a little girl if it didn't sound absolutely ridiculous with OUR last name!

September 28, 2010 4:16 PM
By ladybird (not verified)

Ridiculous. Sorry yes this name is off-limits. Some names we have to give up due to an unfortunate match with the surname (I've always thought Milly was so cute, but my surname is now Miller, so, too bad about that!).

So many great snappy names could go with Ritz! Please give it up for the sake of your little one.

Their afternoon tea IS divine though.

September 28, 2010 4:52 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I am wondering whether this question is a joke. This person can't be serious, can they?

To the person being snippy about how it is acceptable to name a child after a place because blah blah blah - a place name can be a personal name, but only if the place name is acceptable as a name. You don't see any little baby Edinburghs or Cardiffs, and for good reason. They sound silly as personal names, as does London.

If the child was conceived in London, or if the couple met there, or if there were some sort of connection to make a nice anecdote, MAYBE I'd get it, but if not it's just a bit daft.

Instead of these suggestions (vom, by the way), why don't you call the little nipper Elizabeth or Anna; give her a bit of a chance not to be thought of as a knob with illiterate, hippy parents for the rest of her life.

The Ritz's afternoon tea is nice, but not nice enough to warrant the price tag of over £100 paid only by superficial, gullible fools. Soz.

/garnering the hatred of every single reader.

September 28, 2010 5:19 PM
By Essy (not verified)

LOL I'd love to meet a baby named Cardiff! poor child. although I kind of like the sound of it to be honest, but I have been watching a lot of Torchwood lately - but also for someone in North America Cardiff wouldn't be as bad as for someone in the UK.

Americans might not even know where Cardiff is, but unfortunately London is one of the largest cities in the world and very very well known.

It upsets me that Paris turned Paris into a girl's name. It's not. It's a boy's name. but doubtful anyone in the world will be named Paris in the next 50 some odd years.

September 28, 2010 10:35 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

No, London is a name, and whether or not it's ridiculous is a matter of opinion. It shouldn't be any more ridiculous than, say, Brooklyn or Dakota, which, despite not being my personal favourites, are both popular names in America. I used to teach a kid called London. It suited him.

September 28, 2010 10:38 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Sorry, my above comment was a reply to the first (anonymous) comment. I didn't realize there were so many comments in between that have essentially made the same point.

September 29, 2010 12:26 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I think if you like it, name your child London. You can come up with plenty of retorts for any snide comments (that may or may not come your way). I think it is a lot more original than, say Cullen or Graysen or Addison or Bailey or any of the other kitschy names out there.

The only thing that gives me pause is the Disney Channel character named London Tipton. She is portrayed as a spoiled, moronic, superficial girl on "The Suite Life of Zack & Cody" and "Suite Life on Deck." It's clear her character is mocking Paris Hilton, given the fictional Tipton Hotel chain. If you don't want your child associated with that (and I'm sure plenty of children are growing up watching those idiotic shows), I would choose a different name, or a different way to spell it. That's just me, though. I am a firm believer that if you truly feel it's your child's name, to heck with everyone else's opinions. THEY are not responsible for naming YOUR child, YOU are.

September 29, 2010 6:43 AM
By Nicki (not verified)

Love the name London, but I agree your daughter would be ridiculed if you pair it with Ritz. There are definitely many other similar sounding names out there that would be just as pretty though, and would fit better with your last name.

September 29, 2010 10:09 AM
By Cecily's Mom (not verified)

Mrs. Ritz, I feel for you. There is nothing so exciting and terrifying as bestowing a name on a human life. A few years ago when I first heard London used as a name I was slightly taken aback but have grown to appreciate it's familiar ring, historic sentiment, and the way it just rolls off the tongue. No wonder you fell in love with it. Here's the bad news, like the name lady, I too think she (and you) will be exposed to ridicule. There are so many names that people are not familiar with but after hearing them a few times they grow accustom to if not in love with them. London is absolutely one of them, just not London Ritz. You're not alone. I've know several parents who have had to sacrifice their favorite name because in combination with the last name it was not pleasant. To sum things up (finally!) I would hate for your daughter's name to be the joke of the school like Dusty Street was in mine.

September 29, 2010 6:20 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love the name London too! And while I agree that London Ritz *could* be used as a teasing mechanism I really doubt that alot of people would say anything about it or make a big deal of it. I think that if that's the name you really love then you should use it.

And I just have to say that I actually know someone named London and someone named Paris. it's really not that uncommon to use names of places as names...

September 30, 2010 8:13 PM
By ansli (not verified)

I am 14 years old and i think willow is beautiful name I always dream of having a daughter named willow some of my characters in story's for school that i make are named willow its just so beautiful!

September 30, 2010 9:39 PM
By Taylor (not verified)

I don't think London Ritz is bad at all! In fact, it's kinda catchy.

However, IF you and everyone else has concerns about using it (in association with Paris Hilton), then maybe it's best for a middle name, or an alternative.

Lyndon (either), Landon (more for boy), Lila, Layla, Leela, Camden (b), Cameron, Donovan (b) & Duncan (b) are all good names that are close to London. Or you can just find names you like better ;)

I agree that something like Elizabeth London is really nice :D

October 2, 2010 4:55 PM
By lesli (not verified)

Well it is a popular name right now because it is also one of the names from the kids tv show with those twins from the Dannon commerical. The daughter of the man that owns the boat is named London Tipton. I agree pairing it with a middle name or even hypenating London-Elaine or something. Like I love the name Ellen-Claire but would never name a child just Ellen. Its too plain.

Who cares if it is a hotel? I love the name Trinity Grace and that sounds like a Church and probably is somewhere. And as for Paris Hilton well when you hear her name you don't think of the Hilton hotel in Paris do you? Names have lots of meanings before you actually know someone who has the name.

October 5, 2010 7:23 AM
By Anne (not verified)

RE: Paris Hilton. It's also kind of different when your parents OWN the Paris Hilton. I'm assuming this family doesn't own the Ritz.

And yes, I think of the hotel EVERY TIME she's in the news. But when you're that rich, it doesn't matter if you have a silly name.

Good point that London Ritz sounds like a funny take off on Paris Hilton.

BTW - Paris is not exclusively a place name. It's really a boy's name. It's not surprising that Paris Hilton once dated a Greek man (I believe...) named Paris. Legend of Troy and all that. Paris was the one who fell in love with Helen of Troy and started the whole mess that launched a thousand ships, if I am not mistaken.

I would consider Paris for a boy. It's a perfectly legitimate male name with an excellent history.

October 5, 2010 12:24 PM
By Tiana (not verified)

Am I the only person who automatically thinks of the cracker when I hear Ritz, not the hotel?

October 5, 2010 12:26 PM
By nedibes (not verified)

Actually, London *is* a "person" name--a surname (think author Jack London). Even if we disregard Cheyenne/Asia etc., I think London would be an obvious pick given the long-standing tradition of using family surnames as first names, which has recently morphed into the trend of adopting anybody's attractive surname as a first name.

I think using a hyphenated last name could work, especially if you consider the odds (probably greater than 50% though I don't have the actual statistics) that a girl in the U.S. will eventually grow up to marry and change her surname, so she wouldn't be London Ritz forever--if she's lucky, she'll fall in love and get the chance to be London Fogg :).

October 7, 2010 2:54 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Soprano fan??

November 2, 2010 10:32 PM
By Christina (not verified)

London is a's my daughter's name thank you very much! We love it and it suits her perfectly :)

November 9, 2010 1:03 PM
By PiiNK (not verified)

Well, I definitely understand not being able to use certain names that I like. My future last name is Hill (I'm engaged) So I cannot have a son named William for the fear of Will Hill or Bill Hill, I cannot name a daughter Holly Hill, Rose Hill, Lillian Hill, Jillian Hill, etc, or anything with a strong "L" involved. .... We actually chose a few names that we like, John, Madelyn, Tabitha, Chelsea, Marshall, and Rhonin. It just gets tricky espcially since Hill is such a common last name and its an object so to speak that if you have a hill of roses and your daughters name is Rose Hill, it could be made fun of so very easily.

November 13, 2010 11:08 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I knew a girl in school named London England. yes, her last name is England and her parents named her London.

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.