Why do Americans have aristocratic names?

Some are nicknames and some are real, but it seems to me that of English speaking nations only Americans use English noblity as first names. Off hand I can think of Americans called, or who call themselves, duke, earl, baron, count, king, queen, and prince; the only American who works in my office has a real first name of Baron.

I can’t come up with any rationale for this observation, so rampant speculation is invited!

Are you talking about people like;
Count Basie
Duke Ellington
Queen Latifa
and many many more?

I’m only familiar with the ones Zebra mentioned, with the obvious addition of Prince. The only common thread seems to be that they are all black musicians/entertainers.

I don’t recall ever meeting anyone personally with any of those names except possibly “Earl,” which was a fairly common man’s first name at one time, but much less so now. Have you really met a lot of people with these names?

On a related note, isn’t it illegal to have a peerage title as your first name?

Not that I know of in the U.S. but I remember hearing of an Irish or Scottish couple who went to court several years ago in order to retain the name of Princess for their little daughter. Apparently, laws against such names are (or were, until then) quite strict for the Queen’s subjects. I don’t know if they were allowed to keep the name or had to change it and I am too addled tonight to think of the best way to Google for the story.

It’s too late to edit my reply but I now realize that alphaboi867 was probably asking about folks of the United Kingdom anyway and not American folks or those in any other country.

In America, you can name a baby just about anything you want, first or last name. A lot of the postpartum mothers are alone when birth certificate workers come callling around 8 in the morning, and, with no one to stop her, I have met a lot of newborn babies with unusual names. My theory is the mother is trying to be unique without doing a lot of research.
I have said good morning to Princess, Prince, Precious, Tinkerbell and Air Force. (I threw in Air Force because he was my favorite.)

Earl is the only one I’ve heard of. He’s ususally 80 years old, has a buzz cut, and hangs out at the grain elevator.

Earl as in “My Name Is …”. John Wayne=The Duke. The guy at my office is Baron and white as they come, which is what got me thinking about this.

If my friends call me ace it doesn’t mean I’ve shot down five enemy planes.

Well, Prince’s first name is really Prince. The others are all nicknames or pseudonyms. There are, certainly among others, Prince Fielder and Baron Davis. I personally knew a person named Prince Edward Owens. Yes, he was black. Still is, I assume :dubious:


There’s been a historically sluggish market for names like

for some reason, so they’ve been using names from the upper register, for some reason.

Gonna hate to break that news to my best friend, Peon von MenialSerf. :frowning:

Why? Isn’t it good news to tel him that she’s got a rare name?

(I like the “von”. If you’re not familiar with its implications, google it.)

I liked the inclusion of the noble “von” as well

Absolutely not, at least not in the UK. The only restrictions on names here are that they not be obscene or blasphemous. Earl was a common name in my (100% English) family at one time. I know at least eight of my relatives in the last two centuries were called Earl.

Noble? Doesn’t it just mean “of”?

Literally, yes, but not everyone got to use it. It implies nobility, and if you used it without the right to, you’d get ostracized (and, for all I know, prosecuted. They used to throw the book at you for wearing clothes above your station, at one point.)

Can’t say I’ve met many “Baldricks” either, now that I think about it.

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh! Mister Cottar?!?