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Thursday, May 15, 2008


Kate writes:
Help! My fiance's cousin has named her baby Daemon. With an e. Pronounced like Damon, Dame-On. To me, daemon means demon. Not Damon.

Has Daemon become an acceptable alternative to Damon? Is it just those of us with a knowledge of Greek who instantly think demon? Or am I right, and this kid's going to be called Devil...?

If it's the former, how would you go about raising it? Would you raise it at all?

I, too, immediately think "demon." According to Wikipedia, the spelling "daemon" means something a little different. WHAT it means is still unclear to me: that particular Wikipedia entry I couldn't quite understand even after reading it three times. Well, and it doesn't really matter, does it, if a daemon can be good or bad while a demon is always bad? The name is still making at least you and me (and probably others) think immediately of demons.

Now, as to how I'd raise the issue with the new parents. I wouldn't raise it. If someone were pregnant and considering the name Daemon and asked my opinion, I might say something, although I'd be verrrrrry careful saying it: I don't know if everyone is like this, but I'm touchy and defensive about names I like, so I'd assume the same about the person I was talking to, just in case.

But if the baby is born and the name is given, I don't think I'd utter a single peep. It will be difficult not to say anything, but the chances of them changing the baby's name at this point are slim to none, and the chances of them shooting the messenger are high. Either they know and they did it on purpose (are they mythology buffs? gamers? computer geeks?), or they're oblivious and not likely to be seeking enlightenment. At this point, it's Game Over.


Clarabella said...

Someone is going to say something about this name, most likely an insensitive stranger who has nothing to lose. So I agree that Kate shouldn't have to. If the parents named him this obliviously, and it bothers them later, they can always change how they spell his name to Damon, without worrying about the birth certificate (unless they want to).

Bird said...

I'm with ya.

One day someone else will mention it and if the parents really care then they'll discreetly change the spelling. Mabye they like demons? My cousin was married by a witch--some people are different.

R. said...

I love Daemon as an alternative to Damon. I hope the parents realise what they're doing and it's not just a coincidence. Because, seriously, awesome.

K in the Mirror said...

That spelling makes me think of The Golden Compass.

I do know people who went with an unusual spelling at birth and then changed their mind when he was two weeks old because of all the flak they were getting from everyone. Maybe this will happen here also.

And if not... then what can you do.

Mairzy said...

Demons, however spelled and whatever the being, don't have a good historical reputation. I wouldn't name my child Daemon (although it's a cool looking name) because it's too easy a target.

(Of course, Deacon and Bishop are also viable names these days, which also sound odd to me. Imagine a classroom with a Daemon, Deacon, and Bishop... "Exorcisms on the playground every Thursday!")

But I'm all with Swistle: you could drop a gentle hint if she's pregnant, but otherwise, just smile and say, "Daemon is such a beautiful little baby!"

Lara said...

Am I the only one that thinks even Damon is just way too close to demon?

Hope said...

When I think of the name Damon (however it's spelled), I immediately think of Damien, the evil devil child from The Omen movies. So, uh, either way the connections are not good. But, still, I agree with Swistle, if that's already the kid's name there's no use in pointing that out now.

Steph the WonderWorrier said...

Yeah, you can't say anything after they've had the baby... it'll just reflect badly on you, and they'll probably just feel you're trying to upset them or something (especially if she just recently gave birth and horomones and emotions are all wonky).

I agree it looks like "Demon"... but there's not much you can do. I mean, if she named the child, "Moonbeam Stingray Sunshine" you'd obviously (I hope) have a problem with that, and would you be able to say anything?

No. You'd look at little Moonbeam and smile pleasantly, and then discuss behind their backs how dumb the name is. ;-)

What the parents choose is what the parents choose, even if you do sometimes think it's a crime against the child unfortunately.

ZestyJenny said...

Yes! Thank you for getting the word out there that NO NEGATIVE COMMENTARY should ever be given after the child is already named.

It's like when you cut your hair and some insensitive person has the nerve to say they liked it better longer. It's TOO LATE. Shut. Up.

M said...

Yup, it's too late to say anything.

I don't think it's the worse name - for boys, demons are way cooler than fairies or pixies. Oh well.

Also, there's Daniel Dae Kim (from Lost) ... so Daemon would be an appropriate spelling for Damon. Embracing other cultures, that's a good thing.

Linda said...

Swistle, how 'bout a "Worst Thing Someone Ever Said to You About Your Child's Name" post? Like the time my grandpa-in-law asked if we thought our daughter's name was "appropriate for a little girl?" Um, YES, since she's already BORN AND NAMED. Or my friend whose family REFUSED to call her son by his name because they didn't like it. They just called him something else. I would love to read and fume about this topic.

Swistle said...

Linda- Great idea!

Susan said...

Oh goodie! Do it, Swistle! I'd love to read name-comment experiences!

Re the name Damon or Daemon, like Lara I think even Damon comes too close to "demon." I think of the word "demon" every time I hear the name Damon.

Lindsey said...

Damon and Daemon are close to the name Damien/Damian, like someone else mentioned. While SOME people think of the devil child in the movie The Omen, there have been a lot of good Damian/Damien's in the world as well. There is a St. Damian, twin of St. Cosmas. Both doctors, they are known in medical legend(?) for miraculously transplanting a whole leg onto a man who had to lose his. My friend told me she read about this not in a book of saints, but in her premed college courses. I think it's pretty cool. And Fr. Damien of Molokai chose to live with lepers on one of the (now) Hawaiian islands when no one else would minister to them. So that name does not have only evil connotations.

As far as Damon goes, I think of Matt Damon and Damon Lindelof (LOST), so it's a neutral name to me. Daemon looks a bit more demonic, and does bring to mind the little spirits I've read that The Golden Compass characters all have as their spiritual guides or something.

But in the end, I agree--don't criticise the given name of a child, whether to the parents or the child, or behind their backs to other family members. It will come around to bite you in the butt if you do.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend of nine months is named Daemon and he is not evil or scary at all. So what if someones name is close to demon? It doesn't automatically mean someone is going to be evil when they're older. And if someone miss pronounces a name it's not that hard to correct them. If I wasn't having his baby in four months, I would name my son daemon in a second.