Hi Jennifer,

My husband and I have been debating baby names for a few months now. I love the name Benjamin even though it is so popular. We both like more traditional, biblical names but the problem is our last name is Arnold and he is convinced that the immediate association will be with Benedict Arnold. He has no other objection to the name as it fits perfectly with our style.

For what it’s worth, I plan on calling our little one Benji but he will probably end up as a Ben when he is older. I don’t think it’s a big deal (especially with young kids with very limited kno

Benedict Arnold was a U.S. General in the Revolutionary War who defected to the British. His name is synonymous with being a traitor.

wledge of history) but I need help convincing my hubby. What do you think? Will we be making our son a prime target for playground teasing or will it be a non-issue when they finally learn revolutionary history. So can Ben Arnold work as a name?

Thanks so much,

Dear Mandi,

I don’t see it being a problem–the association with Benedict Arnold. I think you’re right in that children won’t make the association, however when he gets older, he may get a chuckle out of adults. Most people by that point don’t care, though, and if you’ve raised him to be a confident man and have a good sense of self, he’ll be able to handle it.

I went over to HowManyofMe.com, punched in the name “Benjamin Arnold” and found that there are currently 222 people in the United States with that exact name. Does that help?

That being said, it’s important that both parents are happy with your final baby name choice. So maybe you can ask hubby to come up with some alternatives?


Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of BabyNames.com, author of The Baby Names Workbook, and Producer of The Baby Names Podcast. Jennifer is widely regarded as the leading expert on popular baby name trends and the naming process, serving as the authoritative source on the subject for national and international media.

Jennifer entered the tech arena in the 80s as a software developer and database architect, and became a pioneer in the Internet industry. In addition to operating BabyNames.com, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.