Help and Guidelines for the Submitted Names

Mission · What's a Name · Compound Names · Ultra-rare Names · References · Usages · Input Form · Standards · FAQ

This is a set of guidelines and pointers for both editors and contributors to the submitted name database. Any policy questions not addressed here should be directed to the site administrators.

Mission and Approach

The goal of this database is to catalog the names of the world, as a supplement to the main name database.

The approach that should be taken to expanding this collection is top-down, meaning that more common and prominent names should be added before rare and obscure names.

Names may be added by anyone. To maintain the collection, there are several editors who are able to modify and delete names. Editors are encouraged to edit ruthlessly. This means they should make changes as they see fit to uphold the quality of the collection according to the policies laid out here, without regard to other considerations.

What counts as a name

A name is eligible if it meets any of the following criteria.

  • it is the legal and/or common name of a real person
  • it is a common diminutive, short form, or nickname used by real people
  • it is used by a notable fictional character

There are some additional restrictions on compound names detailed in the section below.

Names which exist in the main name database should not be included in this database.

Duplicate names may be merged together or deleted by editors. However, same-spelled names which have distinct origins and usages should be left as separate entries.

Compound names

Compound names are two names that are combined to make a single name, such as Mary Sue. Compound names are typically NOT allowed in the database. The reason for this is that there are too many potential combinations and their presence bloats the collection without adding significant value.

An exception is when the component names are written together without a space or a hyphen, and therefore might not be easily recognizable as a compound.

Just because a name has a space or a hyphen does not necessarily mean it is a compound. For example, dithematic Korean names are typically written with a hyphen, and these are not considered compound names for the purposes of these guidelines.

Very rare names

Names that are very rare or unique may be included here. However, in the spirit of the top-down approach you are encouraged to add more common names first.

When an editor encounters an obscure name, they may delete it if there is no freely available evidence that it is valid. The editor should research in good faith but cannot be expected to search exhaustively. The burden of proof for rare names rests upon the person who submitted it. The editor should err on the side of deletion if they cannot find acceptable proof that the name is valid.

If you are submitting a very rare name, you should add references to the notes section of the entry, to ensure an editor does not delete it. See the references section below for more information.

Adding references

References may be added to the notes section of the entry. For rare names, it is important to add references which demonstrate that the name exists. References might be internet links or page numbers from a book. Social media sites and the like are acceptable, as long as they use real names, not usernames.

The fact that the name exists in another listing of names does not necessarily prove that the name is valid, and for this reason other name sites and books are considered to be poor sources to prove existence. An exception is made for more scholarly publications that themselves have similar standards of existence for names.

If no sources exist, you should explain why. For example, the name may belong to a culture which lacks written history and/or relies on oral tradition. At the very least, you should explain where, when and how you encountered the name. Editors are encouraged to scrutinize such submitted names carefully, and may delete on a case-by-case basis if deemed appropriate.

Assigning usages

Each name has a set of usages associated with it. A usage describes who uses the name. It might be a language, a nationality, a culture, or something else. It is NOT necessarily the language of origin.

A usage may be assigned for any of the following reasons.

  • the name is well-established as being traditional to that culture/language/region
  • the name is used by a broad segment of the population (relative to the level of use for other usages)
  • the name's use is notable given its origins (for example if a particular Chinese name gained a bit of currency among English-speakers, which would not be typical, it might also be listed as English in usage).

Usages may be marked Rare, Modern or Archaic. As a rule of thumb, Rare might be assigned when the name has never been in the top 1000 names, Modern might be assigned when it has only been in the top 1000 for the last 40 years, and Archaic might be assigned when it was only in the top 1000 over 100 years ago. Since just a few countries publish top 1000 lists, this rule of thumb cannot be applied to most usages. The American SSA publishes a top 1000 list going back to 1880, which can aid with English names, but keep in mind that some English names are more popular in non-American English-speaking countries, such as the U.K., Canada or Australia. Also keep in mind that popularity lists typically only record the birth name, not diminutives used informally, so this rule of thumb should not be applied to diminutives.

Usages may be marked as having a particular style, for example Latinized or Anglicized. This is used to indicate that the name is written to reflect the orthography or phonology of a secondary language.

The usage for purely fictional names should be Mythology, Literature, or Popular Culture. Popular culture covers movies, television, video games and comic books. The character behind the name must be somewhat notable. As a rule of thumb, if the character does not have their own Wikipedia page (or a subsection on a Wikipedia page), then that character is not notable enough to support the Popular Culture usage.

Input form

Below is a sample of the interface for editing a name.

Given Name
  potential duplicates:  0 main  /  0 submitted
Add Another →
Usage · A list of where and how this name is used.
Culture/Language · Start typing to get suggestions.GenderPronunciation · Use the [key] and separate alternative pronunciations with commas.move or delete
History and Linguistic Origin · The meaning and history of the name, if known. To link to another name, place it in [square brackets]. Surround meanings with "double quotes" and etymological elements in #hashes#.
Native Spelling · The spelling in a non-Latin character set, for example in Arabic, Greek, or Chinese characters.
Other Forms · Variant spellings of the name.
Notes · Notes that won't appear in the definition for the name. Use this field to record any other relevant information. This is a good spot for references.
Your Name · Optional
Verify · Retype the 5 letters; this is used to reduce automated submissions.
  1. Given Name.
  2. Usages: Culture/Language. What cultures/languages does this name "belong" to?
    • Start typing and you will see suggestions.
    • Drag to sort the usages.
    • Click to delete the usage.
    • Add more usages by clicking the .
    • Using the options, the usage may be marked Modern, Rare, Archaic or ? (indicating uncertainty) for further clarity.
    • Using the options, the usage may be assigned a style, for example Latinized or Anglicized, indicating that it is written reflecting the orthography or phonology of a further language.
  3. Gender for this culture/language.
  4. Pronunciation for this culture/language. See key for appropriate letter codes.
  5. Linguistic and historic description (see standards).
  6. Native spelling. The spelling in a non-Latin character set, for example in Arabic, Greek, or Chinese characters.
  7. Other forms. Variant spellings of the name.
  8. Notes. Any other relevant information that doesn't need to be displayed in the name's definition. References can go here.


Please try to abide by these standards when editing entries:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why was the name I submitted deleted?
A: Likely because it is a very rare name and you did not include references that confirm it is actually used. Names that are/were not used by real people (or notable fictional characters; see below) are deleted. For more information, see the rare names and references sections above.

Q: Can names from movies or video games be added?
A: Yes, you can add names that are used primarily in popular media and not by real people, as long as the character is somewhat notable. As a rule of thumb, if the character does not have their own Wikipedia page (or a subsection on a Wikipedia page), then that character is not notable enough. The usage for purely fictional names should be either Mythology, Literature, or Popular Culture.