Dear Jennifer,
I have always found it easy to choose girls names, and my husband is far more open minded when it comes to girls names. We have only been blessed with boys however lol I have recently been crushing on the name Barnaby nn Barny, I haven’t shared the name with anyone yet though, because I know people will associate it with the purple dinosaur, and try to talk me out of it. My question to you is, does that even matter? I mean when you hear a name it’s easy to criticize, but would people care so much if it was actually on a person? -Aubrey

Hi Aubrey,

That is a good question. There are two types of perception when it comes to names: personal perception and mass perception. Personal perception is when you identify the name with something in your own life (a schoolyard bully, past boyfriend). Mass perception is when you–and others–would associate the name with a famous person, character or celebrity (Adolf, Oprah, or Scarlett).

When it comes to Barny, yes, I would think of either the purple dinosaur or the character on How I Met Your Mother. Or Barney Fife from the Andy Griffith show (although that dates me). None of the three are very great associations.

Look at the name from the perspective of the child. Can it grow with him? Will it be an advantage or a burden? Think about this and then decide.


Jennifer Moss (she/her) is the founder of, 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, Jennifer owns a web development agency in central California.